A man killed in Northland's latest fatal crash was thrown at least 8m across a canal after the vehicle he was driving went off the road, hit a tree, rolled and catapulted him out.

The 49-year-old man from Dargaville died at the scene on Te Kowhai Rd, Ruawai, after the crash about 4.25pm on Wednesday.

Inspector Wayne Ewers said an initial scene examination indicated the driver had failed to take a moderate bend and lost control. The vehicle left the road, struck a tree, completed a full roll and landed on its tyres.

Roadworks in the area may have contributed to the crash.

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Inspector Wayne Ewers says the last two road fatalities in Northland could probably have been prevented if the drivers were wearing seatbelts. Photo / File
Inspector Wayne Ewers says the last two road fatalities in Northland could probably have been prevented if the drivers were wearing seatbelts. Photo / File

Unfortunately it appeared the driver, and sole occupant in the vehicle, had not been wearing a seatbelt and was thrown at least 8m across a 5m-wide canal.

"It's so disappointing ... why can't people put their damn seatbelts on?" Ewers said.

"It's another family where someone won't be coming home, all for the sake of one click."

His advice was succinct: "Put your damn seatbelt on, it might save your life or reduce a serious injury."

The death brings Northland's road toll to 19 and includes five fatalities where people were not wearing a seatbelt.

A week ago a 68-year-old Kaeo man died on the side of State Highway 10 north of Kerikeri.

Police said he would probably have survived if he had been wearing a seatbelt.

The crash occurred about 11.50pm as the man was driving north. It is thought he lost control after a sweeping right-hand bend north of Stanners Rd, crossed on to the wrong side of the road and hit a bank.

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The vehicle came to rest on its side across the southbound lane.

Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Northland police, said it appeared alcohol and speed were possible factors in the crash but it probably would have been survivable if the driver had been buckled in.

Failing to wear seatbelts has become a common cause of death on Northland roads despite decades of road safety education.

Of the 35 people who died on Northland roads in 2018, 12 were not wearing seatbelts. In 2017 the toll was 40 with 15 of those unrestrained.

During a Northland-wide police blitz in April one-third of all motorists fined were for not wearing a seatbelt.