The worst times to drive this festive season

A total of 767 fatalities have been recorded this festive period – a 16% increase compared to the same period last year.

This is according to minister of transport, Blade Nzimande, who presented the mid-festive season period statistics on Thursday (20 December).

The preliminary statistics show that road fatalities have increased in all provinces except for Gauteng that has recorded a 10% decrease.

The highest percentage increase was recorded in the Northern Cape Province with 71%, followed by Free State with 53% and KwaZulu-Natal with 46%.

KwaZulu-Natal with 162 fatalities recorded the highest number of fatalities, followed by Gauteng at 125.

Worst offenders

Nzimande said that as of 1 December, traffic law enforcement officers have conducted more than 356 roadblocks throughout the country and issued 326,642 fines for various traffic offences.

“Of particular interest is that 10,666 of these fines were for drivers who did not have a driving licence while 9,620 were for drivers who did not fasten seat belts, 8,481 for driving unlicensed vehicles, 5,811 for driving vehicles with worn tyres and 3,039 for overloading of goods,”  he said.

Other noteworthy fines include:

  • A total of 1,402 unroadworthy vehicles were suspended or discontinued while 1,310 other motor vehicles were impounded;
  • More than 2,837 motorists were stopped for drunk driving;
  • Five drivers were arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 189 km per hour to well over 200 km per hour;
  • The highest speedster was arrested in the Free State travelling at 228 km an hour on the N3 near Warden.


According to Nzimande, a total number of 34 minibus vehicles have been involved in fatal collisions since the start of the festive season, while 44 trucks were involved in deadly collisions.

“These vehicles were involved in single-vehicle overturning, head-on and head to rear collisions which strongly suggests that drivers were unable to control the vehicles due to fatigue and the vehicles veered onto oncoming traffic or they were unable to stop the vehicles on time to avoid collisions because of high speed,” Nzimande said.

“Light motor cars contributed 47% to the total crashes followed by light delivery vehicles at a contribution of 21% and minibus vehicles with a contribution of 7% and trucks 5%.”

Most dangerous times to drive

Nzimande said most crashes occurred between 19:00 and 20:00 and between 22:00 and 23:00.

He added that as of 1 December, the majority of crashes occurred on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

“We are expecting traffic volumes to increase dramatically from tomorrow, as millions will be travelling home to be with their families or to holiday destinations for Christmas Day festivities,” said Nzimande.

“We anticipate that more people will be travelling again on 28 December in preparation for New Year’s Day.

“The last peak travel period will be on the weekend of 5 and 6 January 2019, when travellers are expected to return to their homes and places of work for the re-opening of industries and schools,” he said.

Read: More South African highways move to ‘average-speed-over-distance’ system

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The worst times to drive this festive season