This year's road toll is on track to be the worst in recent years tracking higher than previous years even before it reaches the midway point.

Despite a promising drop over the recent Queen's Birthday holiday, six months into the year the grim accident tally is higher than the same point in 2016 and 2015.

With a pedestrian killed after being struck by a car on a Wellington highway and an elderly motorist dying after a crash in Christchurch the road toll today stood at 160 - more than one life claimed for every day of the year so far.

It's seven more than at the same time last year where 153 people had died in vehicle accidents. Last year 328 people lost their lives on the country's roads.


Ministry of Transport statistics showed Auckland, Canterbury and Waikato have had the lion's share of fatal accidents this year with 73 people killed on the three region's roads up to June 8. In stark contrast just one life has been lost on Taranaki roads this year.

According to Ministry of Transport data 32 people were killed each month in accidents in January, March and April.

So far most killed have been drivers. However, there has been an alarming jump in the number of pedestrians who have lost their lives. The death toll stands at 18, nearly double the same time last year.

The number of cyclists killed has also risen dramatically with seven fatalities compared with two at the same time last year.

Police national manager of road policing Superintendent Steve Greally said there were a number of reasons the road toll had been rising for the last five years.

The growing population and low fuel prices meant there were more motorists travelling further on the road.

"More motorists adds to the collective risk," he said. It all came down to driver decision-making. "Most crashes are preventable and unnecessary ... responsibility comes down squarely on those drivers.

"The police are doing all they can in preventing our families becoming decimated [by fatal crashes]."


He said impatience among drivers and people not wearing seatbelts were also issues.

During 2012, 2013 and 2014 an average of 57 people who were not wearing seatbelts died on the road but in 2015 it jumped to 92 people and last year it was 100.

"It makes no sense that you wouldn't put a seatbelt on. They are there to save your life when you do what humans do and you make a mistake."

He said police were working with other agencies to highlight the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

Earlier this week the acting national road policing Inspector Kelly Ryan said she was pleased with the way the holiday road toll had been pegged back to single digits.

She said that, while three people had lost their lives, police were relieved it was much fewer than last year when 11 people had died over the same period.


She praised the way drivers had taken their time over the holiday weekend and driven to the wet conditions which plagued the north of the country at the start of the break.