A new Automobile Association report has identified the small group of Kiwis who aren't wearing seat belts - but the challenge now for police is to reach and educate them.
NZ Police provided data to assist in the report, and say the survival statistics on seat belts in accidents are undeniable - so everybody should be wearing one.
One of the findings of the report is it's not just young people dying on New Zealand roads because they aren't wearing seatbelts, but a wide range of community members.
Passengers are 60 per cent more likely to survive a crash in the front seat if you're wearing your seatbelt, and 44 per cent more likely to survive in the back seat.
"For most people it's a habitual thing; you get into your car and you put on your seatbelt," national manager road policing Steve Greally says.
"But unfortunately, for a small group of people, this is not the case. You wouldn't jump out of a plane without a parachute."
AA Research Foundation manager Simon Douglas said his team were surprised to find the deaths were not just restricted to one group of people.
"When we analysed the 200 deaths to understand the types of people involved, we found that along with the young, risky drivers that people might expect to feature, the other common groups were people in rural areas, people driving for work, the elderly and tourists," he said.
He said the research in partnership with government agencies looked in depth at 200 deaths where people were not buckled up with the aim of understanding who was involved in the crashes.
It found 83.5 per cent of the deaths of someone not wearing a seatbelt happened on rural roads.
Just over half (53.5 per cent) involved alcohol and 36.5 per cent involved fatigue.
Of all car crash deaths during the last decade, on average of 26 per cent were not wearing seatbelts at the time.
Mr Douglas said it was "mystifying that in New Zealand the rate of people dying while not buckled up is much higher than in other countries like Australia".
New Zealand Transport Agency Director Harry Wilson also welcomes the research amid disastrous 2018 road toll statistics.
As of April 24, there have been 127 deaths on New Zealand roads this year - up noticeably from 111 this time last year.
"In a safe system, no-one deserves to be killed or seriously injured because someone has made a mistake, but people also need to take responsibility for making good choices, including using proven life-saving features like seat belts," Mr Wilson says.
The force on safety belts can be as much as 20 times your weight, which is how hard you'd hit the inside of your vehicle without a seatbelt on.
"We're looking forward to using this new research and working together and with our partner agencies on what we can do to reach the people who choose not to wear a seatbelt, to change their minds and create a new habit – buckling up every time they get in the car," Mr Wilson says.