A teenage driver suffered life-threatening injuries when his vehicle hit a power pole in Whanganui on Wednesday morning.

Central District road police manager Inspector Brett Calkin said the 16-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt.

He was taken to Whanganui Hospital and then transferred to Wellington Hospital in a critical condition.

The crash happened around 8am on the corner of Anzac Pde and Rangitikei St. The teenager was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

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The Serious Crash Unit was investigating.

The crash is "a sobering reminder of the consequences of not buckling up", Calkin said.

"It takes just a couple of seconds, yet it drastically reduces your chances of serious injury in a crash."