Crash figures for State Highway 1 from Puhoi Road to Brynderwyn are steadily creeping back up after a dip in 2012.
The increase is being put down to population growth in Auckland.
Car crash statistics obtained from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) show there have been 1278 crashes, with 38 resulting in fatalities, 101 considered serious and a further 307 causing injury.
The most dangerous segment is from Puhoi to Warkworth, with 13 fatalities and 472 crashes since 2009, which are worse figures than for the Dome Valley or the Wellsford to Brynderwyn section.
District road policing manager Inspector Trevor Beggs says this is due to the nature of the road in addition to population growth.
“You have a beautiful road in the Hibiscus Coast area and then suddenly some of the most challenging roads in the country from Puhoi north.
“It’s a transition stretch, and it becomes worse when you consider factors like weather and fatigue on what is a road that requires more attention.”
Inspector Beggs believes a dip in crashes in 2012 was due to a series of safety improvements. An increase in crashes since then could be caused by the growth in workers commuting to Auckland.
“Nationally, the crash rates have been high in the last two years and we know that the number of kilometres being travelled on our roads is growing exponentially.
“Approximately 40,000 people move to the Auckland region to stay each month. Some greenfield developments in the north have roads marked as 100km/h, but they are not safe for those speeds with steep drop offs, hard curves or culverts.”
He says the message to drivers is not to become complacent on local roads, even if they know them well.
“The majority of people involved in these crashes are locals – and that’s not because they are bad drivers, it’s just they are on the road the most often and statistically more likely to be involved.
“The roads can change. It could have rained after a dry, or maybe a truck just dropped some loose gravel ahead of you.
“To be honest, I am terrified of driving here because I have heightened awareness of the crashes and the challenges on this stretch of road.”
He says safety improvements are planned for State Highway 1, including centre safety barriers in the
Dome Valley, while the Warkworth to Puhoi motorway will provide a safer route on some of the most dangerous segments.
Speed limits on some rural roads are also under review by Auckland Transport and NZTA.