Police say motorists need to stop gambling with their lives when they get behind the wheel.

An elderly man died in hospital this morning from injuries sustained in a car crash last week - taking the road toll to 298.

Fifteen people died alone on the country's roads within the first fortnight of October alone, making it one of the deadliest periods this year to date.

Those killed in the past seven days include four who died in a smash north of Taupo on Tuesday, and the three lives lost in a head-on collision in Southland on Sunday night.

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The road toll was 254 at this time last year.

Assistant commissioner of road policing Sandra Venables said every death on our roads is a tragedy.

"The fact that we've had 297 deaths since January is an appalling indictment on our road users", she said. "The fact that people are still taking that gamble with their lives ... it's surprising."

But she also wanted road users and their passengers to step up and take responsibility.

"Use your seatbelt, don't drive under the influence of alcohol and drive to the conditions."

Venables said the speed limits on our roads weren't a significant factor in the year's terrible road toll.

"We've got set speed limits in place that work for each area ... But people need to drive to the conditions."

She said seatbelts, however, were a significant issue.

According to police data, 400 of those who had died on our roads in the past five years were not wearing seatbelts.

Venables' advice to motorists travelling back from school holiday destinations this weekend was to plan their journey, take breaks and cull distractions like mobile phones.
Her wish was to minimise the number of crashes in the typically deadly summer holiday period.