Three dead in single-car crash as road toll swells

Three people have been killed in an early morning, single-vehicle crash on a regional NSW highway days before Christmas.

The deaths add to an already soaring road toll for the state as leaders plead for drivers to be cautious over the holiday period.

Emergency services were called to the Kamilaroi Highway, south of Gunnedah in the state's north, about 6.30am on Wednesday after reports of a crash

Three back-seat passengers from the vehicle were declared dead at the scene, while a female front-seat passenger was flown to John Hunter Hospital in a serious condition.

The driver, a 24-year-old man, was uninjured but was taken to Tamworth Hospital for mandatory testing.

The dead passengers are yet to be formally identified.

Police initially believed the trio were all men but after further investigations into the catastrophic wreck determined they were two women and a man, all aged in their 20s and thought to be foreign workers.

Local officers established a crime scene and have launched an investigation with the help of specialist officers into what caused the crash.

The triple fatality takes the NSW road toll to 349 for 2023, about 80 more deaths than at the same point the previous year.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the most common killers on the road were all avoidable: speeding, drug use, drink-driving and inattention.

Half of all fatal accidents involved a person who was not wearing a seatbelt.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the weathered state of regional roads was also playing a role in the high number of fatalities and rural crashes.

"There's a disproportionate number of people that die on regional roads compared to metro roads," he said.

Mr Minns urged drivers to do the right thing over the Christmas period and obey the law while on the road.

"You could be killing yourself or a member of your family at what is supposed to be a wonderful time of the year," he said.

The Kamilaroi Highway remained closed in both directions between Curlewis and Gunnedah on Wednesday afternoon following the crash.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or had relevant dashcam footage was asked to contact investigators.

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