The Ministry is responsible for officially recording the number of road deaths information. This page contains information on the daily, quarterly and annual number of road deaths.

On this page:

Daily number of road deaths update

The Ministry monitors the national number of road deaths on a daily basis and records this on the right hand column of this page.

More detailed information on regional number of road deaths information can be found on the NZ Transport Agency website(external link).

Monthly number of road deaths statistics

Table showing number of deaths each calendar month from 1965.

Quarterly number of road deaths report

This summary reports on New Zealand's number of road deaths by quarter with historical trends.

Statistical data and analysis is made available (via an Excel spreadsheet) in March, June, September and December for the preceding quarter. This spreadsheet contains detailed information and graphs.

View the latest data

Oct 2017 to Dec 2017 [XLSX, 698 KB]

End-of-year report

This end-of-year report provides a summary of number of road deaths trends. It will be available in March of each year.

Download the latest report

Number of road deaths Report - December 2016 [PDF, 3.9 MB]

Annual number of road deaths historical information

The data within this section dates back to 1921, which is as far back as the Ministry has records available.

View the Annual road deaths historical information.

Quantitative analysis of the number of road deaths

The New Zealand number of road deaths decreased 24 percent - from 375 deaths in 2010, to 284 deaths in 2011. A mathematical and statistical analysis of the 2011 number of road deaths decrease was prepared.

View the analysis of potential factors behind the 2011 reduction in New Zealand road fatalities.

A statistical anlaysis of longer term trends in the number of road deaths has been done to help identify the contribution of different factors to the decrease in the number of road deaths since 1990

View the results of the preliminary analysis of number of road deaths trends [PDF, 311 KB]

Holiday number of road deaths information

Data has been collected on the number of road deaths during set holiday periods throughout the year. This data is collected due to the high number of extra road users there are during this time. For more information on specific holidays, please follow the links below.

Further information on the Christmas/New Year number of road deaths

Further information on the Easter Holiday number of road deaths

Further information on the Queen's Birthday Holiday number of road deaths

Further information on the Labour Weekend Holiday number of road deaths

TERNZ Report - Why do People Die in Road Crashes?

The Ministry of Transport commissioned TERNZ Transport Research to analyse a sample of road crashes to get a better understanding of why people die in crashes.

The focus was not on the cause of the crash, but rather why there was an impact severe enough to result in death.

The analysis looked at:

  • the characteristics of the roadside
  • pre-crash speeds (related to impact severity, rather than the cause of the crash)
  • restraint or helmet use
  • vehicle characteristics
  • after crash medical care.

The report finds wearing seatbelts and helmets, the age and weight of vehicles, and speed are among the crucial factors in whether or not someone survives a crash

The findings of Why do People Die in Road Crashes have in part informed Safer Journeys, Government’s road safety strategy to 2020.

Download the TERNZ report [PDF, 212 KB]

Read about Safer Journeys Action Plan(external link)

Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the New Zealand number of road deaths

We know that over a long-term the New Zealand number of road deaths has been tracking down.  Tragically, however, we have seen an increase in the number of people killed on our roads since 2013. The reasons why the number of road deaths changes from year to year are extremely complex, with many possible causes.

To help better understand the reasons behind this increase in the number of road deaths, the Ministry of Transport  commissioned an independent qualitative and quantitative analysis of the number of road deaths.

Globally, trends in road fatalities are similar. In New Zealand there has been a 37 percent decrease in fatalities between 2000 and 2014, compared to a 42 percent decrease in fatalities in the 32 OECD countries over the same period.

New Zealand and 19 other OECD countries experienced a recent increase in fatalities. For example, 2015 saw a 15.4 percent increase in Israel compared to 2014; Finland,13.5 percent and Austria 10.5 percent.

Between 2015 and 2016, Australia also experienced an increase of 7.9 percent.

What are the key messages from the report?

Key findings from the report were:

  • Between 2014 and 2016, the New Zealand number of road deaths increased by 12 percent.
  • Over the long-term there has been a sustained decrease in the number of crashes since 2000.
  • Not every kilometre travelled on New Zealand’s roads is equal – as the number of vehicle kilometres travelled increase, the number of crashes resulting in death or injury more than proportionately increases. In addition, as the number of vehicle kilometres travelled increases, the likelihood that these crashes result in a death or serious injury increases. This means that as New Zealanders drive more, the risk of serious road crashes increases considerably.
  • More motorcycle registrations (indicating more motorcycles on the roads) disproportionately increases the number of overall road crashes resulting in injury. This reflects the relative vulnerability of motorcycles, which provide little protection in a crash. A new motorcycle on the road is also more likely to be involved in a crash that causes injury than a new car.

The factors that cause crashes and cause injuries are many and varied. For this reason, it is difficult to understand all the variation in road trauma. In this study, about a third of the short-term variation could not be explained by the factors investigated. This unexplained variation is likely to relate to factors unable to be measured and the random nature of crashes.

Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the New Zealand number of road deaths [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Website material for peer review of Deloitte report on the NZ number of road deaths

After receiving a third draft of the report commissioned from the Deloitte, the Ministry contracted Infometrics to complete an independant peer review.

After this was completed, the Ministry provided Deloitte with the key points of the peer review together for consideration when finalising its report.

A copy of the peer review is provided below

Peer review of the Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the New Zelaand Road Roll [PDF, 220 KB]

AA Report - Vehicle Occupants Not Wearing a Seatbelt

Research led by the AA provides valuable insight into understanding which groups of people are not wearing seatbelts.

The report, Vehicle occupants not wearing a seat belt: An analysis of fatalities and traffic offences in New Zealand, highlighted that up to 30 percent of car crash fatalities involved people not wearing a seatbelt.

The research was conducted to determine which groups of people identify as non-seatbelt users.

The findings showed that although young males, drivers in rural areas, and Māori are all over-represented, the seatbelt issue was surprisingly widespread.

People in rural areas, people driving for work, elderly people, tourists, and young people are also dying in crashes where one simple click could have saved their lives.

The research was led by the AA Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency, ACC, and NZ Police. 

Download the Seat belt fatality report [PDF, 4.7 MB]

Road deaths for the 5 years 2013-2017

The following tables give a brief summary of the road death statistics for the 5 years from 2013 - 2017.

Total Killed During:
January 18 19 23 34 32
February 27 21 32 30 28
March 21 26 26 25 32
April 17 32 31 27 32
May 23 35 25 23 31
June 20 16 24 31 32
July 21 17 26 17 37
August 27 15 22 30 30
September 13 16 19 24 28
October 19 32 32 23 32
November 24 37 27 32 28
December 23 27 32 31 38
TOTAL Killed For Each Year 253 293 319 327 380