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Statistics from the NZ Transport Agency show the percentage of crashes over the past seven years that were related to vehicle factors, and specifically tyre tread.
Figures reveal 9% of fatal crashes are linked to some sort of vehicle fault.
Over the past three years, 32 fatal crashes were related to worn tyre tread.
A total of 464 crashes, including those which resulted in minor or serious injury and those which did not result in injury, were related to worn tyre tread.
The figures used by the MTA in its analysis were drawn from the transport agency's crash analysis system.
The association said vehicle safety should be addressed as part of the draft government policy statement on land transport.
Chief executive Craig Pomare said the draft policy focused on median strips and other roading improvements aiming to bring down the road toll but largely overlooked another vital area.
"The Government is overlooking the 9% of fatal crashes that are linked to some sort of vehicle fault, often worn tyres," he said.
Road factors were linked to 10% of road deaths.
Mr Pomare said worn tyres had been linked to a growing number of crashes since the Warrant of Fitness system was changed in 2014.
"It is vital drivers check their tyres every few months to make sure there is plenty of tread to get them out of trouble if they need to brake suddenly.
"A tyre with even half the original tread will still take twice as long to stop as a new tyre."
MTA recommended motorists upgrade their tyres once they reach around 3mm of depth - rather than wait until they hit the minimum allowable depth of 1.5mm.
More than 500,000 vehicles failed their WOFs last year because their tyres were in poor condition.