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NH traffic deaths take sharp decline

The number of roadway deaths as of Friday this year totals 40, a hopeful sign that efforts to reduce the 135 people killed in 2013 are working, the state’s highway safety coordinator said Thursday.

The fatality count increased by one with a Saturday motorcycle fatal in Manchester. See related story here.

“Let’s hope we’re on the right path,” New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency coordinator Peter M. Thomson said.

Eight of the 40 people killed on all roads through July 7 this year were motorcyclists, he said.

This compares with 56 roadway deaths during the same period last year of which nine involved motorcyclists, Thomson reported.

Traffic fatalities totalled 90 in 2011 — the lowest number in a half century, Thomson said. There were 108 in 2012. But they spiked to 135 last year.

Thomson said he can’t explain the jump. But he attributed the lower numbers seen in the prior few years to aggressive campaigns by law enforcement to target speeding, distracted drivers and those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

He said he hopes no others are killed on roads this year. But he said if the number continue to track at the current rate, the year-end total would dip to a low of 80.

“If we keep it going in the right will be a very, very helpful situation,” Thomson said.

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