Durban - Eight members of a KwaZulu-Natal family were killed in a crash on the R103 near Ladysmith, on Saturday afternoon.
This brings the death toll on South African roads since the start of the festive season to more than 500.
Four others were seriously injured in the horror accident 20km from Ladysmith.
Those killed included William Avery, 69, his wife Martha, 66, and their two sons Jacques, 29, and Shane, 46. Shane’s wife Arleen, 44, their children Ryan, 12, and Shaleen and Arleen’s brother Samuel, 15, were also killed.
Two teenage boys, aged 13 and 17 escaped with severe injuries.
Road Traffic Inspectorate spokeswoman, Zinhle Mngomezulu said the family were on their way to Dundee when the double cab bakkie they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck.
The truck was trying to overtake another vehicle between Harrismith and Ladysmith on the R103, she said.
The truck driver was arrested and has been charged with eight counts of culpable homicide.
RTI said there had been at least 550 deaths in 459 crashes in the period December 1 to 16, with 89 of the crashes occurring on KwaZulu-Natal roads.
KZN was the second-highest accident zone, with Gauteng the worst, recording 99 crashes, spokeswoman Thato Mosena said on Sunday.
Howard Dembovsky, the chairman of Justice Project SA, a non-profit involved in the prevention of power abuse in law enforcement as well as road safety education, said the statistics were not surprising as they reflected what happens in South Africa every month.
“I wouldn’t say it’s surprising, if you look at the way South Africans drive. There is a lot of bravado and aggressiveness - that is the problem,” he said.
“If you look at the Ladysmith accident, it happened on a long, straight road with a broken white line, which means the driver was permitted to overtake if his view was clear and there was no oncoming traffic.
“This demonstrates the type of bravado mentality we have in this country.
“It resulted in eight out of 10 people in the bakkie being killed,” he said.
Dembovsky said traffic policing was not effective and a crackdown was needed to identify motorists who had acquired their licences illegally.
He said motorists should change their attitudes on the road.
“Bad behaviour is not learnt over a day or two, we can’t suddenly expect people to behave themselves at the end of the year when they have been practising bad habits all year. Bad habits kill people… bad habits can become fatal around this time of the year,” he said.
A spokesman from the provincial Transport Department could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, a woman sustained serious injuries on Sunday when her vehicle veered of the N2 near Scottburgh and rolled down an embankment before landing on its roof in a swamp, according to Netcare 911 spokesman, Chris Botha.
The woman is recovering in hospital.