Road toll shows safety campaigns not working - expert

On average, one person dies on New Zealand's roads every single day - a statistic that amounted to 380 people losing their lives last year.

That's 380 Kiwis who didn't make it to see Christmas this year. 

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the main contributing factors were speed, not wearing a seatbelt, distractions like cellphone use and impairments such as drugs, alcohol and fatigue.

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"If you engage in any of these sorts of behaviours, you minimise the odds of getting where you want to be safely," Mr Nash told Newshub.

A breakdown of the deaths shows two-thirds were male. Nearly a third were over 60 years old and nearly 50 percent of crashes happened on state highways

The region where the highest number of fatal crashes occurred was Waikato, followed by Auckland and Canterbury.

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew Wilson told Newshub it shows the safety campaigns aren't working.

"Multiple studies over 30 years have shown it's an absolute waste of time to ask people to drive safely as everyone thinks they drive safely already," he said.

The Government has committed $1.4 billion over the next three years to making safety improvements to high risk roads.

Mr Wilson said it's urgently needed if the road toll is to come down.

"According to a study by Monash University in Australia we could be reducing the road toll 90 percent by nothing more than road side fencing and median barriers on all our major roads," he said.

It's an expensive undertaking that could be a solution to the problem that's costing hundreds of lives each year.