NZ's horror road toll: What's happening on our roads? 89 people have already died this year, way up on 2017

New Zealand's road toll is heading towards being one of the worst in recent years, with 89 people having already lost their lives on the road since the beginning of the year to March 18. 

It is 14 more than the same period last year. 

Seventy-five people had lost their lives between January 1 and March 18 in 2017, and 77 in 2016, according to NZTA

A total of 380 people lost their lives in 2017 and 327 in 2016. 

The highest recent road toll was in 2009, when 384 people died on the road. 

Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter told 1 NEWS today that this year's road toll has been "devastating".

"The number of preventable deaths on our roads is devastating and not something we should tolerate as a country.

"We are in the process of reviewing the government's transport funding strategy, but what I can say now is that there will be a much greater focus on improving the safety of our roads.

"Mistakes on the road are sadly inevitable. However, we can reduce the number that result in tragedy by simply making our roads safer, with improvements like median barriers, rumble strips and safer speed limits," Ms Genter said.

With a few hours still to go, the road toll for 2017 was 378, up from 327 in 2016. Source: 1 NEWS


With the highest NZ annual road toll in nearly a decade, a simple but extensive plan has been put in place to stop the carnage. Source: 1 NEWS

The government put an additional $22.5 million into improvements on rural state highways across the country. 

Ms Genter previously said the number of people dying on our roads has continued to increase over the past four years and making the roads safer will be a major priority for the Government in 2018.

"It will be obvious to many people driving this summer that the level of safety on many rural roads and even urban streets simply isn't good enough," Ms Genter said.

Ms Genter said she also intended to hold a road safety summit early this year so she can hear directly from councils about opportunities for improving road safety.

A head on collision along SH1 near the town of Amberley has left two 16-year-olds dead this morning. Source: 1 NEWS