During the six-week holiday season, nearly 1,800 South Africans were killed in 1,400 crashes on the country's roads.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said Tuesday the 1,755 deaths recorded from December 1 to January 11 was a 14 percent increase from last year.
The Transport Ministry said more than 6,000 people were arrested for drunken driving. It said speeding, reckless driving, vehicles that were not roadworthy, and failure to use seatbelts were also causes of traffic deaths.
A World Health Organization report in October said about 1.25 million people are killed in traffic accidents globally each year, with Africa registering the highest traffic fatality rate.
According to 2015 WHO data, the number of road deaths in Africa, 26.6 per 100,000 people, is nearly three times as many as in Europe, which recorded 9.3 road deaths per 100,000 people.
"Road traffic fatalities take an unacceptable toll, particularly on poor people in poor countries," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said.