13 Kiwis who are no longer with us
The reality of the road toll is that while numbers change year to year, giving politicians the opportunity to talk about strategies working or not and compare against the dreadful past, consequences are still the same.
People die, others are injured, the emergency services and our hospitals clean up the mess, families and friends grieve, police investigate and sometimes lay charges, and the authorities continue to issue warnings - which go unheeded by many of our drivers.
At 11am yesterday, the youngest victim of the holiday road toll was farewelled at Pukemokimoki Marae in Napier.
Just five hours earlier, the official holiday road toll period ended, having started at 4pm on Christmas Eve.
Tanisha Morris, 13, died on the last day of 2010 in an accident just north of Napier, one of 13 to lose their lives. To many of us they are just names on a page.
Tamataia Pera Maurangi, 35, south of Hastings, was the first road casualty of 2011.
The first victim of the period was Gayle Jean Anderson, 44, who died near Dunedin on Christmas Eve.
Just minutes into Christmas Day, Vineshwar Singh, 40, died in a hit-and-run in Pukekohe in South Auckland.
Sebastian Hirling, 16, was killed near Reporoa, Te Reimana Mathew Peina, 38, near Wanganui, Sean Coe, 20, died in hospital after a collision just north of Hamilton, Mark Egbers, 48, on the Coromandel Peninsula after a two-motorbike head-on, Wayne William Anderson, 52, near Blenheim, and a man died in the Bay of Plenty after going through a windscreen following a collision.
Only yesterday morning, two men were killed in separate Auckland-area crashes - a 19-year-old man and a 15-year-old youth who perished by the disturbing trend of motorists trying to outrun the police.
In reality it is just the tip of the iceberg - as the multiple-injury accident near Otane showed.
And the known contributing factors were nothing we didn't know about.
Alcohol was suspected in crashes that killed six, speed played a part in seven of the deaths.
Crossing the centre line, inattention, unlicensed and under-age driver, fatigue, dangerous practice (sitting on the rear of a utility), unsealed roads, loss of control - they were all there.
The holiday period is over.
Thirteen New Zealanders - who were more than just names to the people who knew and loved them - are dead.
The grim realisation that our roads are not anywhere near safe remains with us all.