Letter: Analyzing Traffic Fatalities

To the Editor:

I read with interest the Dec. 31 article “Granite State’s Traffic Deaths Rise 20 Percent” because I, too, am concerned with the increase of traffic deaths. I was, however, appalled by the comment regarding motorcycles: “Remove the motorcycle crashes, and the statistics showed a continuation of a downward trend.”

What? Is this for real? Do motorcycles not count as a motor vehicle? Are the deaths of those drivers/passengers less important or tragic? Tell that to the spouse, fiancé, family members or even the witnesses to these accidents — that if we subtract their deaths, New Hampshire’s numbers won’t seem as unfortunate?

I understand that motorcyclists were out as early as March in 2012, but it should also be taken into account that these would have been people who had their licenses and some experience with motorcycle driving because at this time, new motorcycle riders wouldn’t have yet taken a class, taken their new test or purchased a bike to be out that early in the year. Maybe Peter Thompson, coordinator of the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency, should have taken into account that the traffic death rate wouldn’t have been so bad if we he had taken out all the drivers who were driving minivans? Or the vehicles that had more than one occupant? Or the vehicles that had teen drivers? Or those deaths with elderly drivers involved? Or the vehicles that were on an interstate? If we hadn’t counted interstate deaths, for example, the numbers would have shown a significant downward trend.

The traffic death numbers show just that — traffic deaths. How dare someone insinuate that the reason the numbers are high is because of motorcycles? You could attribute some of the rise in motorcycle accidents to there being more on the road because they get better mileage than do cars, trucks, SUVs or vans. I understand researching and investigating the causes of the increase, but to even suggest that motorcycles are the lone reason for the increase is ludicrous.

Sherrie LaClair



Granite State’s Traffic Deaths Rise 20 Percent

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Deaths on New Hampshire roadways this year have outpaced deaths in 2011 by more than 20 percent, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles data, but one official says the numbers may be misleading. There were 103 traffic deaths from Jan. 1 through Dec. 16. During a similar period in 2011, 84 people lost their lives on New Hampshire roads. …