Police push seatbelt message after one of highest holiday road tolls in five years

New Zealand drivers are failing to use one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective tools to stay alive behind the wheel, police say.

Police are urging drivers to buckle up as this year's holiday road toll is one of the highest in five years. Source: 1 NEWS

The official holiday period ended today, with 19 lives lost on New Zealand roads - one of the worst tolls in the past five years.

Police also estimate that about 400 others have been hurt in crashes over the holidays, and about 80 of those were seriously hurt.

As people return home from holiday, police are urging them to buckle up, with congestion and unsettled summer weather likely.

"Wearing a safety belt is the cheapeast most effective safety device ever invented for a motor vechile," says Police Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff.

"We've seen an almost doubling in the number of vehicle occupants killed in 2016 because they didn't have on a safety belt."