Woman's death pushes 2012 road toll up

The death of a crash victim in hospital has increased the 2012 provisional road toll by one, to 307.

Police say an 81-year-old woman has died following a crash on December 31 near Whakapara, north of Whangarei.

The woman was a passenger in the car, which appeared to have collided with another car at an intersection, police said.

The woman's death also brings the Christmas/New Year holiday road toll to six.

Transport figures show 307 people died on the roads in 2012, compared with 284 in 2011, 375 in 2010, and 385 in 2009.

It was the second-lowest toll in 60 years.

However, authorities say this came with a worrying increase in crashes with multiple deaths and motorcycle fatalities.

"Although the 2012 toll is one of the lowest on record, I'm saddened that it is an increase on the 2011 toll," Associate Minister of Transport Simon Bridges said.

"While the full reasons behind the 2012 toll won't be known for some time, we do know that both the number of crashes with multiple fatalities and the number of motorcyclist fatalities increased."

The highest holiday road toll was 35 in 1981-82, and the lowest was nine in 2006-07.