Rotorua's annual road toll has crept back up to its highest point in the past five years.

Eight people were killed on local roads in 2016, the same toll recorded in 2013. The lowest it has been in the past five years was in 2012 and 2014 when four people were killed.

In the Bay of Plenty last year, 46 people were killed, which is a big jump on 2015's toll of 29.

The lowest the Bay of Plenty's road toll has been (since 1980 when boundaries changed), was in 2013 when 18 people were killed, a big difference to the worst tally of 70 deaths in 1987.

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Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Brent Crowe said an analysis of the crashes in the region showed there wasn't one single area that stood out as being a cause.

Mr Crowe said there was a mix of drivers and passengers failing to wear restraints, drivers not paying attention, pedestrians not paying attention, failing to stop, crossing the centreline, drink-driving and driving while tired.

Ministry of Transport data shows the most dramatic change in the longer term nationwide has been the drop in motorcycle deaths since 1989.

The number of motorcyclists killed each year in New Zealand dropped from a peak of 150 down to 30. In 1988, 20 per cent of the deaths on New Zealand roads were motorcyclists. This dropped to a low of about 7 per cent of the total road toll but had increased slightly in the past few years.

Over the long term the biggest improvements in the number of deaths have been for children under 15 and for the 15-24 age group. Both groups have dropped to under a third of the number of deaths in 1990.

The decrease for the 15-24 year olds has been partly due to fewer motorcyclist deaths in this age group.

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Mr Crowe said January was historically a time when families were still on holiday and other drivers were in a "relaxed summer mode".

While dangerous winter conditions such as frosty and wet roads weren't so much of an issue, Mr Crowe said there were other dangers.

"The relaxed holiday mode is fine as long as people remember the basics - driving to the posted speed limits, not consuming alcohol, wearing seatbelts and making sure children are appropriately restrained, taking breaks and driving fresh and just showing courtesy and consideration on the roads.

"For the most part the general population drive well. It's just a small percentage of what we term high risk users who are putting others at risk."

He urged anyone who saw bad driving to ring 111 or if on a mobile phone, *555.

"Police are out there to prevent death or serious injuries on Bay of Plenty roads. We don't want to be the one informing you a loved one has passed away."


Rotorua road deaths
2012 - 4
2013 - 8
2014 - 4
2015 - 5
2016 - 8

Rotorua road deaths
- January 5: Teresa Diane Morgan, 50 - State Highway 5, Tarukenga
- January 5: Monty Broughton, 68 - State Highway 33, Okere Falls
- March 2: Steven Ioane, 30 - Ngongotaha Rd, Ngongotaha
- May 1: Eileen Rangituiwa Gardiner, 48 - Te Ngae Rd, Rotorua
- June 5: Bharatbhai Patel, 51 - Duncan Rd, Kaingaroa
- August 7: Moana Matthews, 17 - Tarewa Rd, Rotorua
- August 21: Helen Knox, 49 - State Highway 5, 5km south of Rotorua
- September 9: James Simerka, 42 - intersection of Rehi and Whirinaki Valley Rds,

Around the region 2016
Rotorua - 8
Taupo - 13
Western Bay - 19
Eastern Bay - 6

Bay of Plenty road deaths
Lowest - 18 in 2013
Highest - 70 - 1987
2011 - 19
2012 - 23
2013 - 18
2014 - 30
2015 - 29
2016 - 46
* Records started in 1980