Car Crash Stats – New Hampshire
Motor Vehicle Accidents – New Hampshire
The amount of traffic fatalities continues to increase in New Hampshire. The National Safety Council reports a 61% increase in deaths on roads and highways in the state as compared to the same time frame in 2015 and 2014. The increase is higher than any other state except for Vermont.
During the first part of 2016, 84 people had already died in 81 separate accidents. 64 people died in 2015, and there were 55 fatalities in 2014 during the same period. Of the fatal crashes during the first half, 12 took place in Rockingham County, 9 in Hillsborough and Grafton counties, 6 in Strafford County, 5 each in Cheshire and Merrimack counties, 4 in Belknap County, 2 each in Coos and Sullivan counties, and 1 in Carroll County.
The State's Division of Motor Vehicles reports that there were 7,788 reportable motor vehicle crashes (accidents that result in at least $1000 of property damage and personal injuries) from January 1 to June 26. This is an increase from 6,837 crashes in 2015 during the same period.
Causes of Car Crashes and Fatalities
A primary reason for the increase in fatalities is low gas prices. A report by the National Safety Council suggests that low gas prices have resulted in a 3.3% increase in cumulative vehicle mileage. Fatalities continue to increase from 1.1 deaths per 100 million miles traveled to 1.3 deaths per 100 million miles.
Officials say that the lack of snow may also have been a factor. The National Weather Service recorded 29.7 inches of snow, but according to State Police Captain Matt Shapiro, this resulted in a lack of snow banks which in turn made cars go off the road, roll over or a hit a tree. More people are also on the road in winters if there is no snow increasing the number of accidents and fatalities. There has been an increase in the volume of traffic on Granite State roadways - up by 5% over 2015.
Opioid abuse and distracted driving are other causes of accidents in the state. The state police report that approximately 35% of fatalities during the first six months of 2016 involved drugged driving. This is a decline from 50 to 60% crash fatalities in previous years but is still an area of concern.
The state passed the hands-free law in 2015 which prohibited the handling of electronic devices by vehicle drivers. However, the New Hampshire Department of Safety reports that there has been no significant improvement in the number of fatal accidents, deaths and non-fatal collisions. The law is still in place though since distracted driving continued to be the second or third leading reason of road deaths for the last 19 years but dropped to sixth place in 2015.