During the month of January, 637 fatal crashes were recorded - accounting for 774 fatalities.
"This represents a 75% increase in crashes from 484 and 78% increase in fatalities from 602, year-on-year. Of these crashes and fatalities, 184 crashes resulting in 363 fatalities in January were already reported in the festive season statistics," Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said on Monday.
Releasing the first of the 2022 Monthly Road statistics in Johannesburg, the Minister said most of the crashes took place on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays with human behaviour contributing to 90% of the crashes, followed by road and environmental factors at 5% and vehicle factors at 4%.
Pedestrians accounted for the highest number of fatalities at 39% followed by passengers at 28%, drivers 26% and cyclists at 7%.
All provinces, except KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State recorded increases in road fatalities in January, year-on year.
The breakdown is as follows: Gauteng recorded 138 fatalities compared to 101 the previous year; Limpopo recorded 123 fatalities compared to 72 the previous year and Western Cape recorded 121 fatalities compared to 82 the previous year.
The Eastern Cape recorded 108 fatalities compared to 71 the previous year while Mpumalanga recorded 79 fatalities compared to 63 the previous year, the North West recorded 64 fatalities compared to 51 the previous year and Northern Cape recorded 20 fatalities compared to 11 the previous year.
Free State recorded 37 fatalities compared to 54 the previous year and KwaZulu-Natal recorded 84 fatalities compared to 97 the previous year.
"During the month of January 2022, 1 672 roadblocks were undertaken, with 741 027 vehicles stopped and checked. A total of 173 686 traffic fines were issued and 4 846 drivers were arrested for various offences.
"Notable offences for which these traffic fines were issued in the month include driving above speed limits, operating unlicensed vehicles, driving without driver's licences, violations of traffic signs, and operating vehicles with worn tyres," the Minister said.
Drunken driving continues to be a challenge with 961 drivers arrested.
A total of 1 051 drivers were arrested for operating public transport vehicles without the necessary operating licence and 212 were arrested for overloading passengers.
Innovative solutions to make our roads safer
In an effort to reduce the carnage on South African roads, government will continue working with all stakeholders to implement bolder and innovative solutions to make roads safer.
The following necessary interventions will be taken in the next months to turn the situation around.
A focussed national pedestrian programme will be introduced targeting all hazardous routes.
Effective road safety education and awareness campaign will be undertaken to address risky behaviour among the youth. These campaigns will be rolled out in institutions of higher education and youth-oriented platforms. They will include use of influential role models to drive the messaging.
There will also be an increased focus on driver and vehicle fitness with various stakeholders. Drunk driving operations will be scaled up starting on Thursdays and continued throughout the weekend.
The Minister has affirmed that government is making strides in tackling the backlog in the issuing of driving licence cards.
"To date we have produced 306 576 cards reducing the backlog we had on 20 January 2022 almost by half. That backlog now stands at 314 000. However, the cumulative backlog that includes new renewals currently stands at 545 517 as on 16 February 2022," the Minister said.