The number of people who have died on Western Bay roads is up by three on this time last year, despite the country having been in lockdown for seven weeks.
And Western Bay of Plenty's road policing manager is pleading with motorists to take extreme care after a grim few days in which the district's road toll climbed to eight this year.
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The latest fatal crash on State Highway 29 in the Lower Kaimai area on June 3 killed Tauranga man Jamie Fowler, 23.
The crash happened at 8.35pm after a car collided with a fully laden stock truck and trailer unit. The victim died at the scene.
The eight people died in seven crashes and are three more deaths than the same time last year.
In 2019, 15 people died in 13 road crashes on Western Bay roads.
Three of the eight deaths this year happened between May 18 and June 3.
They included cyclist Graeme John Shallcrass, 62, formerly of Tauranga, who collided with a truck on the intersection of Totora and Maui Sts on May 28.
Corey William King, 49, of Tauranga died after a two-vehicle crash on Koromiko St in Judea on May 18.
Western Bay of Plenty acting head of road policing, Sergeant Wayne Hunter said eight deaths in just over five months was a "grim and tragic start" to 2020.
Hunter said the June 3 crash was still being investigated and police were keen to speak to any witnesses or anyone who was in the area at the time.
The weather that night had been "very bad" and whether that was a contributing factor would form part of the serious crash unit's investigation, he said.
"It's been a tragic five months after a significant drop in the number of crashes during the Covid-19 lockdown," he said.
Hunter said during the lockdown there had been an average of eight crashes a week, compared to the usual 25 to 30.
"I cannot urge people enough to ensure they follow the road rules, concentrate 100 per cent on their driving and putting away cellphones and other distractions.
"With more traffic on our roads again, and lots of people walking and cycling again we really need motorists to be mindful of that."
"People need to ensure they take extreme care, especially in the wet after an extended dry period as fuel and other debris means roads can become very slippery, " he said.
The 2020 total road toll across the whole Bay of Plenty police district now stands at 19, the second-highest number of crash deaths across all police districts in the country.
Central district ranks highest with 20 deaths.
Last year 75 people were killed in crashes on Bay of Plenty roads, including a Chinese tour bus crash near Rotorua in which five people died.
Nationally there have been 125 road deaths so far this year.
2020 Deaths on Western Bay of Plenty roads:
February 5: Three-vehicle crash on TEL - Pyes Pa School teacher Sue Walmsley, 64, died on February 8.
February 7: Peter Te Rangi, 56, of Te Puke died after a crash on No 3 Rd in Te Puke.
March 11: Two people died after a crash on SH33 near Paengaroa.
March 25: Lisa-Marie Kuku, 24, of Aongatete died after crash on SH2 near Aongatete.
May 18: Corey William King, 49, of Tauranga died after a crash in Koromiko St, Judea.
May 28: Cyclist Graeme Shallcrass, 62, formerly of Te Puke died after a crash in Totara St.
June 3: Jamie Fowler, 23, of Tauranga died after his car hit a stock truck on SH29 on the Lower Kaimai range.
• Source: Western Bay of Plenty police