Durban - At least 417 people around the country died in the first 10 days of December.

This information was released by the chairman of the Justice Project South Africa, Howard Dembovsky, who said this figure was the worst he had seen.

He said road law enforcement needed to be visible throughout the year to alter bad driving habits and there needed to be harsher penalties for those who broke the law.

He said five people burnt to death when their taxi crashed and caught alight in Nelspruit on Monday.

In KwaZulu-Natal, at least 12 people died over a weekend that saw 174 people in the province arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

A drunken Durban driver killed another driver and left a pedestrian in a critical condition when he lost control of his vehicle in the city centre while trying to evade a roadblock at the weekend.

Five people died and six were injured when a bakkie overturned in Ashburton, near Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday morning, said Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha.

He said on Monday that Netcare 911 had attended 69 road accidents since Friday. Vanessa Jackson said ER24 had responded to 75.

Visitors are still flocking to the coast, said Andy Visser, spokesman for the N3 Toll Road Concession. - The Mercury and Sapa