CONCORD — Despite the recent tragedies in New Hampshire, traffic fatalities are down 20 percent from this time last year. At this point in 2018, there were 73 deaths compared to 58 in 2019 as of July 29. While 2019 is faring only slightly better than 2018, these fatality totals only tell part of the story.

Speed, distraction and impairment are the driving forces behind these numbers. More drivers are choosing to drive recklessly, and this trend is growing at an alarming rate, not only in New Hampshire but nationwide.

The New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety’s mission is to drive down fatalities in 2019 and beyond. Continued efforts behind coordinated enforcement, targeted media messaging and education remain key. Here are things the department recommends everyone can do to ensure a safe journey home:

• Don’t drive distracted. Distraction includes anything that takes your attention away from the road.

• Slow down.

• Drink responsibly. Designate a sober driver, call for a ride or be the designated driver.

• Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time.

• To report a reckless driver/erratic behavior, dial *77 from your mobile phone and choose Option 2 for New Hampshire State Police dispatch. If possible, pull over, park and call from a safe location or have a passenger call.

2018 Fatality Statistics:

• In 2018, July was the deadliest month with 25 fatalities.

• There were 83 alcohol and/or drug-related crashes in 2018, which claimed 90 victims.

• Drug tests came back positive for 57 operators involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes.

• 72 victims were not wearing seatbelts or 68 percent of the total of 106 victims that were vehicle occupants.

• 18 lives were lost in speed-related crashes.

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