Two people were killed in Bay of Plenty crashes overnight.

Two cars collided head-on on State Highway 2, Waiotahi, about 8.20pm.

Police said one driver died at the scene and the other driver was in hospital in a critical condition.

In a second fatal crash, on Reid Rd, Ruatoki, a 4WD crashed and rolled at 12.30am, killing the driver and sole occupant.


The serious crash unit is investigating.

Police were working with next of kin to identify the victims and post-mortem examinations would be held today.

Both cases would be referred to the coroner.

There have been 278 road deaths so far this year, up on 264 at the same time last year.

Ten people have died on the country's roads this month alone.

National road policing assistant commissioner Dave Cliff said the spate of deaths was unusual.

However, of more concern was the forecasted trend.

"We're projecting another 60 to 70 people will die before the end of this year in road crashes. Just under one person will die each day in a road crash if you average it out."

Cliff said the main factors in recent crashes were speed, alcohol and no seatbelts.

It was also disappointing to see the number of road deaths rising since 2013's record low of 254, but also the number of hospitalisations from crashes and volume of ACC claims.

"You could never attribute a crash to one thing. Fundamentally, if we all slow down, wear our safety belts and we don't drink and drive you're in a much stronger position."