Police are still seeing poor driving behaviour on roads around the Taupō district - despite last year's Taupō area road toll was slightly lower than in previous years.
Taupō area road policing manager Senior Sergeant Phil Edwards said the 2020 Taupō area road toll stood at 13. In comparison, in 2017 the figure was 23. In 2018 there were 16 road deaths and in 2019 there was a whopping 33 road deaths, with several multiple-fatality accidents.
The Taupō police area stretches from the Desert Rd summit to north of Putaruru and historically records road deaths in the high 20s or low 30s every year.
Mr Edwards said speed and distraction contributed to the Taupō area crashes in 2020.
"Taupō Police are still seeing poor driving behaviours on the roads with drivers taking risks while passing other motorists," he said.
"And speeds are still too high, with police detecting speeds over 130km/h most weeks."
Mr Edwards said police were appealing to all road users to drive to the conditions and to the posted speed limit.
"Police will maintain focus on the behaviours we know cause the most harm on the roads. Drivers who are either impaired, distracted, or are speeding cause harm on our roads. Drivers and passengers who are unrestrained are also at risk of serious injury or death in a crash.
"These behaviours, poor decisions, all mixed together are a recipe for death on our roads and we are burying too many of our people."
Police, Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency, the community and Taupō District Council were all working together to try to reduce the number of people injured and killed on Taupō area roads, Mr Edwards said.
Part of that was about slowing down so that the consequences of an error were less severe. With safer vehicles travelling at lower speeds on better roads, a mistake was less likely to result in serious injury or death.
"As you drive about the Taupō area on our roads these summer holidays, give yourself and your whānau a chance at life," Mr Edwards said.
"Drive to the conditions, reduce that speed and always wear your seatbelt. Plan to have breaks during your long trips and don't be distracted by your mobile phone or the going-ons inside the vehicle."
The provisional 2020 national road toll stands at 320 - that's six people dying on New Zealand roads every week.
Police are urging everyone in New Zealand to make a simple New Year's resolution to help prevent further fatalities on our roads.
"You can do that by putting away your phone, ensuring you drive free from alcohol, drugs and fatigue, wear your seatbelt, and drive to the conditions within speed limits," said national road policing manager Acting Superintendent Gini Welch.
The worst annual road toll was recorded in New Zealand in 1973 when 843 people died and the lowest in recent years was 253, in 2013.