The crash which killed eight people and left a young boy fighting for his life has renewed calls for urgent measures to reduce the road toll.
The driver of an SUV and the driver and six passengers in a van died in the head-on smash on State Highway 1 near Atiamuri on Sunday morning.
The crash puts the April road toll at 45, making it the deadliest month on the roads in a decade. The last time 45 people died in a single month was in April 2009.
The latest crash caused motorsport legend Greg Murphy to throw his weight behind calls for change, suggesting Kiwis should have to sit driving tests every 10 years.
The Government regularly talked about fixing roads and speed as the keys but the road toll hadn't come down, he said.
"The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result," Murphy said in a post to his Facebook page.
Improving driver training should instead become the priority, he said.
"We should all be forced to resit our drivers' licences every 10 years at the max."
He regularly saw experienced drivers — even those with decades of experience — develop bad habits that could be eliminated or scrutinised by periodic tests.
"Retraining happens in so many different things in our lives, how come something that destroys so many lives only requires essentially a one-off test for life — madness!"
While the Government's focus on building median barriers would stop head-on collisions, they couldn't be built everywhere and wouldn't stop crashes altogether, he said.
The Automobile Association backed moves to encourage drivers to continually "hone their skills and training", the group's road safety adviser Dylan Thomsen said.
"Staying a good driver is a continual process, it is not something you just achieve and then that's it," he said.
However, people's attitude while driving was just as important.
"People can have all the skills in the world but that doesn't do you any good if you choose to be really risky or push the limits," Thomsen said.
"You tend to see about half of fatal crashes involving really reckless and extreme behaviour and another half involving people who are more making mistakes."
Things were now on track to top last year's road toll of 377, he said. In the year to date, 137 people had died on our roads.
After the lower road toll of 253 in 2013, Thomsen said people in the road safety industry were "talking about the idea of fewer than 200 deaths by 2020, and now we're hoping for less than 400".
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter yesterday said each of the deaths was a tragedy.
"My heart goes out to families and communities who are grieving.
"We know it's going to take a sustained effort to turn the number of road deaths and injuries around. That's why this Government has invested a record $1.4 billion over three years to upgrade over 1500km of our most dangerous roads."
The Government's Safe Networks programme aimed to upgrade 870km of state highways by 2021, adding median and side barriers, rumble strips, and widening shoulders.
"On average, one person dies on New Zealand's roads every day and someone else is injured every hour of every day. Everyone makes mistakes, but we need to stop these mistakes turning into tragedies."