A spike in the number fatalities on Northland roads has prompted police to call for motorists to slow down.

Northland road policing manager Inspector Murray Hodson said five motorcyclists, six car drivers and one pedestrian had been killed in crashes so far this year - compared to nine at this time last year.

He said the causes of the crashes included speed, alcohol and not wearing seatbelts.

"There has also been a spike in people hospitalised for more than three days by serious injury," Mr Hodson said.

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"This means ongoing suffering for those injured and their families. The margin between being seriously injured and dying is fine."

Many crashes occur when people were near their destination, he said.

Speed was also creeping up, with the average speed in 50km/h areas now clocked at 67.5km/h and at 117km/h in 100km/h areas.

Mr Hodson said drivers were not following the "basics" of good driving: slowing down, driving to the conditions, not drinking and driving, wearing seatbelts and concentrating on the road.

"People are making simple mistakes and are becoming complacent like thinking they only have a short distance to drive, so they will be fine.

"It is always devastating to have to tell a family that a loved one has died or ended up in hospital with life-threatening injuries. This doesn't have to happen if we all stick to the basic rules of driving and consider all other road users."

Police were working with partner agencies, including sports clubs, to reduce trauma on the roads, Mr Hodson said.

The Northland District Health Board also runs programmes for drink drivers who reoffend, he said.

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