Deaths Due to Car, Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise in New Hampshire

Traffic deaths in New Hampshire are bucking the national trend. Unfortunately, this is not a good thing. For the third straight year traffic deaths have increased in New Hampshire while across the country traffic fatalities have been falling.

In fact, 25 states had double digit percentage declines in roadway deaths. The only other states with increases were Delaware, Vermont and Wyoming.

According to the state Highway Safety Agency, 137 people died in New Hampshire from a motor vehicle accident, up eight people from last year. Deaths due to motorcycle accidents also rose. Twenty-nine deaths were reported last year. This is four more than the previous year.

Peter Thomson, Director of the state Highway Safety Agency says that he is concerned that motorcyclists represent more than 20% of the total number of fatalities in 2008.

Higher gasoline prices during the summer enticed more people to ride fuel-efficient motorcycles and mopeds, Thompson said. One of the issues with this is that a first-time rider receives a temporary motorcycle license before taking the test for a permanent license and is therefore on the road without a lot of experience or training.

There was not any data yet on the role that drugs or alcohol played in the fatalities. In addition, no information was available on the number of motorists not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

New Hampshire does not have a current seatbelt law but for the second time a bill has been proposed that would make seatbelt use mandatory for adult drives and passengers. The bill may actually become law this time around as it passed the House by a sizable margin.

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