Police are hoping a road speed guide passed before Christmas with the intent of making speed limits appropriate for the type of road will help turn around an alarming rising trend in the road toll.

The annual national road toll has been rising since 2013 and within it there are also red flags - last year more than 90 people who weren't wearing seatbelts died when in an average year there are 60.

Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff is highlighting the importance of wearing a seatbelt, of driving at a safe speed and not drinking and driving as he reflects with frustration on a road toll of 327 in 2016.

"The message is wear your seatbelt it's the cheapest and best thing you can do."


The annual toll is up from the record low of 253 in 2013, followed by 293 in 2014 and 319 in 2015.

Some countries have road death rates of three per 100,000 and New Zealand is approaching a rate of seven.

"The sad thing is there is a small group of people who are impervious to the safety messages. Unfortunately they don't just kill themselves," Cliff said.

He said safer vehicles and things like wire road barriers help.

He's hopeful a new speed limit setting guide passed by cabinet shortly before Christmas may help. It essentially says the speed limit has to be right for the type of road.

The slower a driver travels the more likely they are able to stop in time.

He says right around the country families are planning funerals and there are also many people in hospitals injured in accidents who may not survive.

The holiday road toll stands at 19 and the period ends at 6am on Wednesday. It's already up from 12 last year.

Police are urging people to drive safely and wear seatbelts on the way home.