Road fatalities declined sharply in 2019 after rising sharply in 2018

  • Map of fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2019 reflects population density as well as a popular tourism route from Lake Winnipesaukee to Conway to Mount Washington. N.H. Transmportation Management Center

Monitor staff
Published: 1/1/2020 7:01:26 PM
Modified: 1/1/2020 7:01:06 PM

Motor vehicle deaths in New Hampshire returned in 2019 to levels seen in recent years following a spike in 2018, according to data from state police.

As of Dec. 31, there have been 99 traffic-related fatalities and 88 fatal crashes in the state, almost one-third fewer than in 2018.

The 2018 figure of 143 fatalities was one of the highest the state has ever seen. In 2017, by contrast, 98 people died in fatal crashes, virtually the same figure as happened this year.

Safety officials praised efforts to ensure that 2018’s road toll didn’t become the new normal.

“The reduction in fatalities is a result of good decisions by the public and a close partnership with private partners and our local, state and federal partners,” State Police Col. Christopher Wagner said in a released statement. “One death is too many. We still have a lot of work to do and will continue to work closely together in fulfilling our mission in keeping New Hampshire’s roadways safe and reducing traffic-related fatalities throughout 2020.”

Among the fatalities of 2019 were seven seven motorcycle riders killed when the driver of a pickup truck and trailer crossed the center line of Rt. 2 in Randolph in June and struck the group. The driver, Volodymyr Zhukovsky of Massachusetts, was using drugs at the time and is facing criminal charges and lawsuits. The case produced a high-profile shakeup of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. 

The year 2019 also saw the first death related to a crash involving an all-electric vehicle, although the crash itself took place in late December 2018. 

The day after Christmas a Tesla Model X, the SUV version of the company’s car, was driven off Perry Road in Rindge. The vehicle broke into two pieces and burst into flames, igniting some brush and trees. One passenger, 19-year-old Nina Colasanto of New Ipswich, died after several weeks in the hospital. The driver and another passenger were injured.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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