Christmas period road toll worse than this time last year as second person dies in Kaimai crash

Police car.
The number of Christmas/New Year holiday road toll deaths is four more than on December 30 last year. Photo credit: Newshub.

Twelve people have died on New Zealand roads over the Christmas holiday period as of Saturday and motorists are being urged to be patient while travelling as the New Year approaches. 

The number of Christmas/New Year holiday road toll deaths is also four more than December 30 last year

According to figures published on the Ministry of Transport website, 372 people died on New Zealand roads in 2022. That was up from 318 in 2021 but has dropped to a provisional figure of 338 this year. 

But the 12 people who have died on the roads so far this Christmas/New Year holiday period, which runs from 4pm on Friday, December 22 to 6am on Wednesday, January 3, has prompted a pre-New Year's Eve warning from the police.  

"During New Year we often see a peak in people driving on the roads, so be patient, keep calm, drive sober and if you are feeling tired - pull over," police said a statement on Saturday.

The latest deaths on the roads came after two people died in a crash on State Highway 29 in Bay of Plenty's Kaimai on Thursday. 

Police said one person died at the scene and the other in the hospital overnight. 

Investigations into the crash were ongoing. 

Meanwhile, another person died in a crash in Northland's Russell on Friday morning. 

Emergency services were notified of the single-car crash Russell Whakapara Rd at 11:40am. 

One person died at the scene and another was seriously injured. 

On Wednesday, a woman died in Waikato's Marokopa when she was reported to have come off her quad bike. That was reported just before 5pm. 

Since December 22, people have also died in crashes in West Coast, Mt Maunganui, Christchurch, Ashburton, south Canterbury and Whangārei. 

"It's the same message, 'Everyone has a role to play to reduce serious crashes and save lives,'" Transport Ministry road safety spokesperson Bryan Sherritt said last week.  

"We want you to get to your friends and whānau safely, so when you're out on the roads this summer, drive to the speed limit and conditions, don't drink and drive, make sure you're rested and plan ahead," added Fabian Marsh, the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi's senior road safety manager.