Expect an increased police presence on the Napier-to-Taupō road this summer, says Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.
"We've done a bit of work with the police and Roadsafe around just warning people to drive to the conditions," she said.
"This year the police will have a campaign to support people.
"They'll be travelling the road, they'll be putting in speed cameras, they'll be ensuring people are safe when they are travelling the roads."
In the last 12 months there have been eight fatalities on the 90-minute stretch of road and 10 serious injuries.
Truck driver Tony Alexander travels the road daily.
"Every night we head up the road, hoping like anything we don't come across another crash," he said.
Road repairs appeared to be not up to standard.
"Over the last couple of years, I've noticed the road is just getting worse and worse.
"The work needs to be done properly. At the moment I notice things like, they'll do surfacing, they'll leave it for three or four days for traffic to run over the top of it and that's their extent.
"Trouble is when they go in and do that quick repair and then have to go back again, they are having to still go back time and time again to redo the redo, which is a redo of the redo."
Waka Kotahi NZTA regional transport systems manager Oliver Postings said he was generally happy with the standard of road repairs.
"There will always be times when it looks like repairs have failed but we had to do them quickly because the weather hasn't been conducive to fixing them more permanently," he said.
"So often we will come in and fix it, with an intention to fix it properly.
"So to the public it can appear we are having a lot of failed repairs.
"The other thing to note is if a permanent repair does fail, it is on the contractor to repair it at their cost."
Both Postings and Alexander said the road surface for the 90-minute stretch of highway is no different to other parts of New Zealand, but other factors do make it different.
"Probably the bit that makes it a bit more unique to others is it goes through mountainous terrain," Postings said. "And weather conditions can vary completely. From what we have down here on the flat to what you have at the top can be completely contrasting."
Serious crashes have resulted in new signage on some highway black spots.
Drivers are encouraged to take breaks and enjoy the route's reserves, rest areas and famous trout streams.
"We just want everyone to be safe this Christmas," Hazlehurst said.
"We want you to take it easy, just enjoy and get to your destination happily.
"To our visitors and our local community, just be safe on our roads.
"This is about having a great Christmas and everyone enjoying a wonderful festive season."
Made with funding from