Two people are dead after a logging truck and a car collided on State Highway 2 near Pukehina.
Senior Sergeant Mark Pakes, who is the head of Western Bay of Plenty's road policing unit, confirmed that a man and a woman travelling in the car died at the scene yesterday.
The truck had been heading towards Tauranga and the car heading east when the collision happened between Ohinepanea Rd and Beach Access Rd.
Road deaths are not numbers – they represent real people, and we never lose sight of the real human loss and grieving behind the figures.
Kiwirail was advised about the crash as the truck was sitting between the road and some railway lines. The car also ended up about down bank about 50m away from the truck. The truck driver sustained moderate injuries and was taken to Tauranga Hospital.
A nearby resident said he heard a muffled bang when the accident happened but only confirmed it was a serious crash after his brother called him from Pukehina Beach.
The man, who has lived in the area for more than a decade, and helped out with traffic management, said this road was "pretty notorious" for crashes.
He understood the car was shunted off the road after colliding with the truck.
It is the third fatal crash in the Western Bay this week.
A man died in a two-vehicle crash on State Highway 29 on the Kaimai Range yesterday after his car collided with a car transporter and both vehicles ended up down a bank. He was Te Hokinga Mai Katipa, 30, from Gisborne.
On Monday, 34-year-old Steven Antony Hart died after two cars and a truck collided on SH2, north of Tauranga. That crash happened between Pahoia Rd and Apata Station Rd, and both the truck and one of the cars caught fire after the crash.
Commenting on this week's fatal crashes, New Zealand Transport Agency, director of safety and environment, Harry Wilson said every death and serious injury on the roads was a tragedy.
"Road deaths are not numbers – they represent real people, and we never lose sight of the real human loss and grieving behind the figures. To make New Zealand's roads safer we need to improve every part of the system – that means safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and safer drivers," he said.
The Government would be investing $4.3 billion over the next three years to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads through the 2018/21 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).
"That's a 37 per cent increase compared to the past three years. The Government has made safety a top priority for transport investment.
"This is the start of a decade-long safety programme aimed at achieving significant and sustained reductions in deaths and serious injuries."
Specific projects around the country would include fixing dangerous corners, roadside and median safety barriers, further safety improvements for high-risk intersections, barriers, rumble strips, improved skid resistance, safe and appropriate speeds and safe level crossings.
Meanwhile, police also attended an accident involving a truck and a car near Cambridge.
Police report a truck rolled on Cambridge Rd after colliding with a car around 1.45pm.
The driver of the truck is in a critical condition in hospital and no one else is injured, a police spokesperson said.
Earlier yesterday it was reported the truck driver was temporarily trapped in the cab of his vehicle.
Initially, it was believed there was a chemical spill as a result of the accident but it appeared to be a load of potting mix that was spilled.
"There will be diversions in place, so motorists are asked to follow these and delay their journey if possible," police said earlier.
"The Police Serious Crash Unit and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Team are investigating," the spokesperson said.
Elsewhere, the driver of the car involved in a collision with a tanker truck on State Highway 1 near Tokoroa has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.
The car driver was flown to Waikato Hospital and the driver of the truck was uninjured.
The accident occurred around 9.55am and the road was closed until 1.30pm, when it was reopened.