Nearly 30 more people have died on the roads so far this year than at the same time last year - a figure that has been branded "really disturbing" by police.
Figures released today by the Ministry of Transport show 198 people have been killed in crashes on New Zealand roads in the year to date, up from 171 at the same time last year.
The data means 27 more people have lost their lives compared with last year.
Three people died in crashes yesterday, bringing August's deadly road toll to nine, up from four for the total month in 2014.
National road policing manager, Superintendent Steven Greally, said the figure was "really disturbing".
"We have noticed for a little while that it has been creeping up at a higher rate than last year," he told NZME News Service.
"That's really disturbing, because as we know 2014 [road toll] was much higher than 2013."
He added: "It's really unfortunate. That's 198 people who were alive at the beginning of the year that are no longer here. And their families are the ones who're going to have to live with that for the rest of their lives, and that's particularly tragic."
Police, fire and ambulance personnel had "had enough", Mr Greally said.
"When we go to these scenes - and I can speak for every one of my colleagues - it's just the most horrific thing to go to. But it gets worse when we have to knock on the door of the relatives to tell them what's happened to their loved ones," he said.
"You can't put into words how it feels to look into someone's eyes and just shatter their life, and that's exactly what you're doing.
"Our officers - and ambulance and fire see the same - and quite frankly we've had enough."
His comments come after a number of deaths on the roads this week, including three yesterday.
Graham Eric Field, 33, died in a crash on State Highway 5 at Tapapa yesterday at 7.30pm.
Police said the Rotorua resident was the driver and sole occupant of a ute that crossed the centreline and crashed into a bank, for reasons unknown.
A man died and a woman was injured after the car they were in went down a bank on the Awhitu Peninsula last night.
The vehicle left the road and travelled down a bank on Awhitu Rd near Douglas Rd in Pollok, police said.
Lei-Lani Gay Greene, 55, died following a collision between a truck and car in Oamaru on Oamaru-Alma Rd yesterday afternoon, police said.
Another person was transported to hospital by helicopter where they remain in a stable condition.
In May, the deaths of 10 people on New Zealand over one weekend, including in a pair of triple-fatality crashes, were lamented by police as a "preventable tragedy".
Those comments were reiterated by Mr Greally today, who said the majority of fatal crashes were caused by preventable decisions - such as driving drunk, using mobile phones while driving, speeding, not wearing seatbelts, and not driving to the conditions.
"What it comes down to is drivers making much better decisions on the roads," he said.
"It's just completely preventable, most cases are preventable and are completely unnecessary."
He described it as "incredibly frustrating and entirely unnecessary".
"As police officers we're out there 24/7 trying to do the best we can to keep people safe on our roads, we target our resources to risk [areas] and we understand where the risks are and we deploy our staff to those. Unfortunately we can't be everywhere all the time, so we do require people to make these decisions.
"And if people can't make the right decisions on our roads then we'll certainly help them with that by enforcing the law."
The 2015 road toll had seen a "very bad start" to the year with 55 people killed in January and February.
That was followed 10 people dying in one weekend at the end of Road Safety Week in May.
"It's hard to put an explanation for all of that," Mr Greally said.
However, he said hospitalisation rates were coming down, to around 6-7 per cent.
"That's a great thing because that means people aren't in wheelchairs or spinal units for the rest of their lives," he said.
Meanwhile, a woman who died in a crash on SH1 Orari-Rangitata Highway on Monday morning has been named by police as Bevron Cherald Sinclair, 55, from Timaru.
Investigations into the cause of the crash were continuing, Canterbury Police said.
- Additional reporting: Nikki Papatsoumas of NZME News Service