Four people have died during this Christmas/New Year holiday road toll period, equalling the 2019/20 total.
The period started just under 48 hours ago at 4pm on Christmas Eve and extends until 6am on Tuesday January 5, 2021.
Two people died on Christmas Day around 7.30pm after a single-vehicle crash on Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd in southeast Auckland.
And a crash this morning on Triangle Rd in Henderson, West Auckland, has resulted in the death of two people and left two others with injuries.
It's believed the vehicle the four people were travelling in struck a bridge on Triangle Rd. The incident was reported about 5.55am.
Inspector Jason Homan is urging drivers to take care on the roads after the tragic start to the holiday period.
"Every death on the road means a person will never come home again to their whānau and friends," Homan said.
"We do not want any other families to experience such pain and loss this holiday period.
"While the cause of each crash remains under investigation, indications are that high speeds have been a contributing factor to the incidents."
Fulton Hogan workers near the scene of a serious crash on Triangle Road in Auckland. Photo / Hayden Woodward
The Ministry of Transport's official Christmas/New Year holiday period death toll shows four people died in 2019/20. Nine people died over the period in 2018/19.
Year-to-date road toll figures show between January 1 and December 25, 2020, a total of 312 people had died on New Zealand roads.
This year's road toll is far lower than the same time frame in 2019 when 349 people had died.
The Covid-19 lockdown has reduced the number of 2020 deaths.
During lockdown, fatal crashes slipped to a record low of nine in April.
The number of males who have died on the road far outweighs the number of females killed in 2020: 225 compared to 87 respectively.
Police are asking drivers to be careful on the roads and slow down.
"Do not speed. Do not drink and drive. Put on your seatbelt and make sure your passengers have theirs on. Put away distractions like cell phones," Homan said.
"Our officers work tirelessly every day to keep our roads safe, but we cannot control the actions of every driver, every minute of the day, and people need to take accountability for their driving behaviour.
"Road safety is something everybody must take responsibility for. Every person getting behind the steering wheel needs to take ownership of their safety, that of their passengers and also other road users and pedestrians.
"And if you're a passenger in a vehicle and you don't feel safe, please have the courage to say something to the driver, or ask to get out.
"Get yourself and your friends home safe these holidays and take care on the roads."
Motorcyclist death toll on track for highest number in past 20 years
New Zealand is facing the deadliest toll for motorcyclists in two decades as the busy festive season on our roads begins.
Fifty-five motorcyclists have died through to December 25 this year, compared to 56 in 2019 - the highest number since 1997 when 57 died.
Caroline Perry, director of road safety charity Brake, says an increase in motorcyclist deaths over the past few years is concerning.
"So far this year the families of 55 motorcyclists have received the devastating news that their loved one will never be coming home again," she said.
"Whilst there have been some improvements in safety around motorcycles, there is still more work to do to bring deaths and injuries down."
Scene of the accident which left two people dead on the Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd yesterday. Photo / Kawakawa Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade
Ministry of Transport data showed the number of motorcyclists who died between January 1 and December 21 is eerily close to matching last year's record number.
54 motorcycle riders and one passenger have died this year, compared to 53 riders and three passengers in 2019 - the most since 1997 when 57 total died.