Fifteen people died in road crashes in Hawke's Bay/Gisborne in 2015, four fewer than 2014 and well down on the 15-year average of 23.

Nationally the preliminary 2015 road toll is 321 - 27 more than in 2014 and the highest in five years.

So far there have been no Hawke's Bay road deaths during the official holiday period, which started at 4pm on December 24 and ends at 6am on January 5.

Eastern District road policing manager Matt Broderick said he was pleased no Hawke's Bay families were burying a loved one on the holidays as a result of a crash.


"Some sustained injury and some were very lucky, indicating we can still do better," he said.

"Police will continue checking drivers over the remaining summer months, so the risk of detection for speed and alcohol remains high.

"The public are doing a great job of reporting poor habits and we thank them again.

"To those members of the public who came across police at checkpoints, and not only passed breath tests but were good natured and happy to see us, we thank you. You are the majority.

"To those that did not pass, you are the minority but would be no less loved and missed by your family. Please learn."

Tukituki MP and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said continuing road deaths and serious injury were "incredibility sad and disappointing".

He said speeding was a contributing factor for 30 per cent of serious and fatal crashes, alcohol/drugs 29 per cent, unrestrained occupants 20 per cent and driver distraction 8 per cent.

The number of people killed on New Zealand roads was falling, dropping more than a third over 15 years and he said the Government was committed to making roads safer and road users also have a role to play.

"I urge all drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians to be vigilant and considerate while travelling these holidays," he said.

Police national road policing manager, Superintendent Steve Greally, said road crash fatalities were "much more than a statistic".

"These are people who have left loved ones behind, and it's the families and friends who are left to carry the pain and devastation of fatal crashes," he said.

The national Christmas-New Year holiday road toll stands at eight, including an elderly woman who died in hospital on New Year's Eve from injuries received in a crash near Oamaru on Wednesday morning and a fatality early New Year's Day on the Motueka Bridge.

"We all have a responsibility to be safe on the roads. It's a no brainer to check your speed, wear a seat belt, be a sober driver, take a break if you're tired and keep your focus on the road.

"If everyone takes this basic advice the road toll can be reduced and families can spend fun time with loved ones instead of planning funerals."