Frustrated police say the message isn't getting through to Hawke's Bay drivers about seat belts.

They revealed on Thursday that restraints weren't worn by people who died in two crashes in the past month in the region.

At recent safety checks police found 17 travellers an hour not wearing seatbelts.


A total of 170 people were issued with infringement notices in 10 hours of dedicated checks.

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The standard fine is $150.

Eastern District road policing rrevention manager Senior Sergeant Dan Foley said a significant number were also ticketed for using cell phones.

Crash histories and studies have shown motorists are 60 per cent more likely to survive a crash in the front seat if they are wearing a seatbelt, and 44 per cent more likely to survive in the back seat.

"Simply ensuring that everyone is wearing a seatbelt can prevent a tragic loss of life."

Police are maintaining a focus on the four main causes of death and serious injury on the roads: failure to wear restraints, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fatigue or distraction (mainly by using cell phones) and excessive speed for the conditions.

"Police are asking everyone who gets into a car to put on a seatbelt and if someone in the car fails to do this, the others in the car must remind them," he said. "It's basic safety, it's you protecting your life."

The nationwide road toll for this year to Tuesday night was 185, an increase of 10 on last year and at the current rate heading for the highest since 2007.

According to provisional statistics eight people have died in the police Hawke's Bay area — the council areas of Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke's Bay.

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It compares with the 2018 toll of 6 to June 19.