Every loss of life is a tragedy, police say, as they beg the public to take better care on the roads.

A baby remains in a critical condition after a crash near Cambridge that is understood to have killed both his parents on Saturday - two of eight deaths on New Zealand roads over the weekend.

The crash, which happened on Cambridge Rd in Leamington about 6pm on Saturday, involved a ute and a logging truck.

Following the horror weekend on the roads - five of the eight deaths occurred in Waikato while the other three were from a single-vehicle crash in Northland - Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter has cautioned that drivers will always make mistakes and says that's why the Government's programme to make roads safer is so important.

Advertisement

Several people, including a child and a baby, have been badly hurt in the crashes.

The horror weekend brings the year's road toll to 49 - still three fewer than this time last year.

READ MORE
Government's 'audacious' target of zero deaths on New Zealand roads
Fatal road crashes: Three killed on Whananaki Rd, Northland; four dead in Waikato crashes
'Summer ice': Warning for drivers as rain after long dry brings road danger
353 dead in 2019: Find out NZ's most lethal stretches of highway

"Like every death these have been tragic. I really feel for the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones this weekend," Genter said.

The Government had boosted funding for basic safety measures like side and median barriers, safer passing lanes and median barriers because "road deaths are preventable".

The Government's road safety strategy - named Road to Zero - aims to cut road deaths by 40 per cent in a decade with an end goal of zero road deaths.

Genter said progress was being made - January was tied for the lowest number of crashes ever - but "we always knew it would not be in a straight line. There's so much more we need to do".

While the causes of this weekend's crashes are not yet confirmed, Genter said there was a need to focus on all aspects of the system - safer roads, safer speeds, safer cars and safer drivers.

Advertisement

Bad weather will always be an additional risk factor, she said.

"We can't only focus on driver behaviour because people will always make mistakes. The other countries that have had the biggest reduction in road deaths have really focused on making an environment... which is more forgiving."

Waikato had had a notably high rate of deaths and serious injuries in crashes in recent years, particularly rural roads rather than main highways, Genter said. The police and regional councils were working closely to make roads in the region safer, as well as increasing traffic police and a focus on impaired drivers.

Police are pleading with the public to take care on the roads after eight people died in crashes this weekend. Photo / File
Police are pleading with the public to take care on the roads after eight people died in crashes this weekend. Photo / File