Driveway deaths and tourist accidents have contributed to the high proportion of serious crashes involving pedestrians in Rotorua.
Pedestrians were factors in 15 per cent of all fatal and serious injury crashes in Rotorua in the six years to December 2014, according to New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) figures. Nationally, pedestrians were factors in 9 per cent.
Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor said anecdotally there had been a couple of "fairly nasty" incidents over that period involving tourists who, out of habit, had looked in the wrong direction before stepping out onto the road.
"It's almost a reflex reaction and they've stepped out in front of cars and that's ended with tragic results in a couple of instances."
He said there were a lot of projects around the country to enhance the safety of visitors.
There had also been at least three driveway fatalities in Rotorua where children had been run over. "You just cannot be too careful ... It is an absolute tragedy when an incident like that happens," Mr Taylor said.
NZTA data showed the leading causes of fatal and serious injury crashes in the area were poor handling, poor observation, alcohol and speed.
Mr Taylor encouraged drivers to upskill and look at ways of driving safely on roads. "Just because you've got your full driver licence doesn't mean you stop learning."
Everyone has a personal responsibility to remain up to date with law and environment changes and not to switch off and rely on a vehicle's safety features, he said. Speed could be the difference between life and death in a crash, he said.
NZTA data showed just over half of crashes in Rotorua in the six years to the end of 2014 were in urban speed zones. The remainder were in rural speed zones. It showed just over half happened on local roads and the remainder on state highways.
Urban speed zones were roads where the posted speed limits were less than 80km/h. Rural speed zones were roads where the posted speed limit was 80km/h or more.
NZTA road safety director Ernst Zollner said it was impossible to generalise about what type of road was safest, because the quality and standards varied greatly.
Road factors made up only a small percentage in crashes, but data showed driver behaviour and environmental factors played a greater part, he said.
The NZTA noted some crashes went unreported, despite the legal requirement to report all injury and property damage crashes where the owner had not been contacted.
There was a lag between the time of the crash and its entry into the crash analysis system which meant the 2014 data was provisional.