Bay police are frustrated after attending more than 20 crashes across the Western Bay in just four days, including one which left a 72-year-old man with critical injuries.

Head of Western Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said there were 21 crashes around the police district since Monday.

"That's a significant number in anyone's books," he said.

"It is really frustrating as most of these crashes can put down to people just not taking the care required," he said.


Mr Campion said the Serious Crash Unit were still investigating the cause of Wednesday's Te Puke Highway collision, involving a truck and a motorhome, on which has left a 72-year-old Kawerau man in a critical condition in Tauranga Hospital.

The highway between Rangiuru and Pah Rds was closed for more than five hours.

Mr Campion said the number of crashes since July 1 last year was up more than 20 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year, including serious injury crashes.

Injury crashes involving "vulnerable people" such as cyclists and pedestrians had also risen, he said.

"The causal factors are right across the board from people failing to comply with intersection rules, speeding, alcohol and/or drugs, and giving into distractions."

Mr Campion said there was also a noticeable increase road-rage incidents

"People need to appreciate with our increasing population there will be travel delays, and they need to leave home 10 minutes earlier or wait until peak traffic flows have lessened.

"I can't stress enough that everyone needs to concentrate on their driving and watch their speed and following distances, and also comply with the other road rules," he said.

"So far this year there has been four road deaths in the district, four too many," he said.

Nineteen people were killed on Western Bay roads last year - the highest road toll for the area in 13 years - one more death than in 2015.

Last year's road toll was the highest since 27 people were killed in the area in 2003 and a stark contrast to the area's record low of six deaths in 2013.

Across the wider Bay of Plenty region last year 46 people were killed - a big jump on 2015's road toll of 29.