The summer holidays are not over yet and Napier MP Stuart Nash is urging Hawke's Bay residents to stay safe on the roads during the busy season.

The region had its fair share of crashes before 2019, with police, ambulance and the Lowe Rescue helicopter from Taupo and Hawke's Bay attending a head-on crash on State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo on New Year's eve.

A man in his 40s was also in a critical condition in Hawke's Bay Hospital with injuries received in a motorbike crash in Te Awa Ave, Napier, on Sunday morning, and a woman aged in her early 50s was in a stable condition with injuries received when a car crashed on SH38 between Wairoa and Frasertown a few hours later.

The Hawke's Bay toll for 2018 remained at 19, with the most recent fatality more than two months ago.


Nash confirmed that the provisional number of national road deaths for 2018 exceeded the annual toll for 2017 when 378 people lost their lives.

He said it was the worst annual figure since 2009 when 384 people were killed.

"There are far too many families who are missing a loved one these holidays after road accidents this year. It's devastating to know that many of these deaths were preventable," he said.

"Although road deaths as a proportion of our population and in comparison to the number of cars on the road has halved in the past 20 years, we can do much better. We can work together to reduce the number of deaths."

Nash said the main contributing factors were speed, failure to wear a seatbelt, distraction such as using a cellphone and the impairment from drugs, alcohol or fatigue.

"Police remain out on the roads working hard to keep everyone safe. But they can't do it alone- we need to be responsible every time we get behind the wheel."

The official holiday period ran from December 24, 2018, to Thursday January 3, 2019.

The number of national deaths so far stands at eight.