Over five years in Northland 525 cashes involving trucks have tragically ended in 22 deaths.
Another 34 people were left seriously injured and police have seen a 30 per cent rise in the number of fines dished out to truck drivers failing to wear seatbelts in Northland.
The shocking statistics, gathered from 2012 to 2016, have prompted a safety campaign "Buckle up in your truck" in Northland, which started rolling on Tuesday with a checkpoint on the northern side of Kamo.
Drivers of 75 trucks were directed off the road, checked over by police and given some safety advice by those involved in road safety and the trucking industry.
Whangarei and Kaipara Road Safety education programme manager Gillian Archer said research showed truck drivers found seatbelts in trucks were more uncomfortable to wear than car seatbelts.
One of the freebies given out to the drivers was a fluorescent-coloured seatbelt cover, which made wearing them more comfortable but was also a visual reminder to buckle up.
Over three years from 2014, instant fines handed out by police in Northland increased 30 per cent from 158 to 205.
"We are seeking to reverse this trend and ensure all truck drivers are buckled up. We are handing out information along with advice and after the education period there will be strict enforcement of seatbelts."
Other checkpoints will be held at Uretiti on November 7 and Northport on November 15.
Partners involved in the campaign include the Northland Freight Group, police Commercial Vehicle Safety Team, Northport and National Freight Carriers.
Chairman of the Regional Transport Committee, John Bain, said the statistics were horrifying but it was not always the truck drivers who were at fault.
He said the behaviour of motorists around trucks quite often forced truck drivers to take evasive action, or put them in a difficult position.
"But it horrifies me that a professional driver who sees the road day-in and day-out who would not immediately put their seatbelt on," Mr Bain said.
But he said there was a wider issue than truck drivers who were not belting up.
Of the 27 fatal crashes in Northland this year 40 per cent involved people who were not wearing seatbelts.
"People in Northland are getting very complacent about wearing a seatbelt."
The first driver through the stop was Roger Marshall, from Auckland, who was delivering empty bins to a Puketona business in the Bay of Islands.
"This is a great idea. For me putting on a seatbelt is the first thing I do whether it's in the truck or in a car. It's pretty simple," he said.
Information on a handout for drivers included a story of how a seatbelt saved the life of a driver from Manganui Transport, who was involved in a crash.
Mangonui Haulage logging manager Darren Brott
On impact the cab was severely damaged, potentially exposing the drier to severe injury.
"Had the driver not been wearing his seatbelt, his chances of survival would have been minimal.
"Wearing the seatbelt was the difference between going home to his family or going to the truck stop in the sky."
Not wearing a seatbelt incurs a $150 fine.
Over 5 years in Northland
525 crashes involving trucks
34 people seriously injured
30% increase of truck drivers not wearing seatbelts