Alcohol, speed and a lack of seatbelts are suspected factors in two fatal crashes in Northland at the weekend which have caused the region's road toll to soar.
The toll has risen to 13 after the death yesterday of a woman who was involved in a crash at Ruakaka. It was one of three crashes that resulted in fatalities in Northland.
The woman was in a single-vehicle crash on Peter Snell Rd about 11.30pm on Saturday night.
Police said the vehicle left the road and rolled. Two others also received serious injuries. The 27-year-old woman, who was driving and not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle, was taken to Auckland Hospital but died yesterday.
Northland road policing manager Inspector Wayne Ewers said early indications were speed and alcohol were also factors in the Ruakaka crash as was the case in a fatal crash in Hikurangi on Friday.
A 20-year-old car passenger died after a crash on View Rd on Friday about 11.40pm. He was Blake Edward Hilton, of Hikurangi. Two others were treated by ambulance officers at the scene.
The 22-year-old male driver of the car was arrested, then allowed to go to Whangarei Hospital for treatment. He will appear in Whangarei District Court this week on charges relating to the crash.
The rising road toll is exasperating police and other emergency services who have to pick up the pieces.
"How do you get through to people? It's a serious business driving. If you are alcohol or drug impaired, are speeding and aren't wearing a seatbelt the likelihood of dying is high if you crash," Mr Ewers said.
"These people are not going home. Over the next few days it's going to be a terrible time for their families. The public have to come onboard and obey some simple rules."
At the same time last year there were eight fatalities in Northland.
"It's frightening and ridiculous," Mr Ewers said.
Police are yet to name two German tourists killed in a crash at Kaeo on Saturday. Officers are working with the German Consulate to make contact with family of the 23-year-old man and 24-year-old woman.
The duo were in a people-mover that collided with a truck a few kilometres north of Kaeo. The truck driver, a man from the Kaeo area, was trapped and initially in a critical condition with significant leg injuries.
He was airlifted to Auckland Hospital by the Northland Rescue Helicopter, which landed in a nearby paddock.
Sergeant Haydn Korach, of Mid North police, said it appeared the people-mover had been heading south when it crossed the centre line. The driver of the truck tried to avoid a collision.