by RNZ and NZ Herald

Twenty-four fewer people have died on the road this year than last year. As of this afternoon, 353 people have died on the road this year, down from 377 in 2018.

It marks a significant drop in deaths, but still makes it the fourth deadliest year this decade.

As of this evening, 353 people have died on the roads in 2019, down from 377 in 2018.

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The figure was at 352 this afternoon, but shortly after 6pm, police confirmed a person had died following a crash on State Highway 29, Lower Kaimai, on Monday 23 December.

The crash involved two trucks. One person was critically injured in the crash and died today in hospital. Police continue to investigate the circumstances of the crash.

That marks a more than 6 percent drop over the past year, which more than exceeds the five percent goal set by the police each year.

The Christmas and New Year's holiday toll sits at four.

2017 remains the deadliest year on our roads this decade, when 378 people died.

The number of deaths reached its low point in 2013, when 253 people died on the road..

Find out the road toll on your holiday route

The New Zealand Herald has built an interactive that calculates the road toll on your summer driving route, using data on fatal crashes over the past 20 years.

The statistics are sobering; 7431 people have died on New Zealand roads in that time and experience suggests more will lose their lives in crashes this summer.

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Memorials for these victims haunt the sides of the roads. But the roadside crosses we notice are a small fraction of the number of people who died instead of reaching their destination.

Our interactive shows many of New Zealand's most lethal routes are to and from Auckland. The drive north is the worst and includes included the segment from Warkworth to Whangārei where in 20 years 162 people have been killed on just 101km of road. On average, this is one person every 623m of road.