At least 1,582 people have died in a total of 1,247 fatal crashes on South African roads between December last year and January 2010.

The fatalities, in the period from 1 December 2009 until 11 January this year, include 397 drivers, 637 passengers and 548 pedestrians.

Most deaths occurred on roads in cities and towns followed by provincial roads and national roads, with KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces leading the list, according to Road Traffic Management Corporation statistics.

The figure is slightly lower than last year’s road death toll of 1,655 for the same period.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has urged people to change their behaviour on the roads to prevent crashes, with less than 135 days left before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which the country is hosting.

“The World Cup is not only about sport, it is more about transport,” Ndebele said.

“Our obligation is to ensure that all those who use our roads are able to do so safely.”