With two days to go the holiday road toll is the worst its been in five years, with 18 people killed this Christmas period.
And the provisional road toll for 2016, at 326, was the highest its been since 2010, when 375 people died on our roads.
Just hours into the new year, two people were hit and killed by cars in the Far North within an hour and a half of each other.
A 49-year-old Kerikeri man was hit about 1.15am yesterday on Kerikeri Inlet Rd, near the intersection with Pa Rd.
He died at the scene despite the efforts of St John medics to save him.
Police were then called to Oruru Rd at Peria, south of Taipa, about 2.28am after a 17-year-old female from Tokerau Beach was struck by a vehicle. She died at the scene.
The holiday road toll was then brought to 18 when a truck rolled on Thornton Rd in Whakatane at about 12.30 yesterday afternoon.
The holiday toll is the highest its been since the 2011-12 holiday period, when 19 people died.
A crash between a car and a campervan yesterday morning in Morrinsville has also landed three people in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit, including two boys.
Assistant commissioner for road policing Dave Cliff said road deaths and injuries were rising in a worrying trend.
Messages about speed, drink driving and always wearing a seat belt didn't seem to be hitting home as hard they used to, he said.
"The result over the last 20-odd years, we had this consistent downward trend in the numbers being killed but that trend is now reversed.
"That's a source of real concern."
The number of people hospitalised for more than 24 hours as a result of road accidents was also increasing, he said.
People weren't doing the basics, such as wearing a seat belt, because a lot of people thought a road accident was something that happened to other people, Cliff said.
"Road accidents always happen to someone else until the day they happen to a member of our families."
Associate Transport Minister David Bennett said the road toll was more than just a number.
"Every figure represents a life needlessly lost and family, friends and communities grieving.
"Our thoughts are with those that have lost loved ones on our roads over the past year.'
Provisional data for 2016 indicates 24 per cent of fatal crashes involved drivers travelling too fast for the conditions.
Drugs and alcohol contributed to 40 per cent of fatal crashes, and 39 per cent of drivers and 42 per cent of passengers killed in car crashes were not wearing seatbelts.
The Ministry of Transport had commissioned research to better understand the factors influencing the road toll, Bennett said.
"We have the whole year ahead of us, so let's all do what we can to make sure the road toll is far lower than last year."