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Police use data to predict fatal-crash hot spots
Instead, statistics show that you're most likely to die in a crash if you're driving on a state or local road during the evening commute. And if you're driving impaired, distracted or too fast, your chances go way up.
William Oldenburg, administrator of the Bureau of Highway Design at the Department of Transportation, is on the review committee. He said DOT engineers are taking a more pro-active approach to roadway safety these days, installing more rumble strips to stop center-lane encroachment and median barriers to prevent crossover crashes.
Rumble strips have been installed on Route 16, Route 101 in Milford and Route 111 in Hudson and Hampstead. And the DOT has had requests from police in Lee, Brentwood and Epping to put them on Route 125, he said.
For about five years, his division has been collecting "place of last drink" information in impaired-driving crashes, Wilson said. By combining that with sobriety checkpoint data from police, the state can focus on problem licensees, he said.
Roberta Bourque, who compiles and analyzes data for the Department of Safety, said most alcohol-related fatal crashes involve drivers in their mid-30s to mid-40s, but she's noticed that drivers ordered to install ignition-interlock devices after a DWI conviction tend to be in their 20s.
Quinn said he plans to distribute data about crash locations and times to troop commanders so they can target their efforts this summer. "Let's just be where the problem is," he said.
For State Police Troop A in Epping, the worst spots are Portsmouth, Candia and Barrington. There were 11 fatal crashes on Route 101 from 2010 to 2013 and nine on Interstate 95.
Most fatal crashes in Hillsborough County were in Manchester, Merrimack and Nashua; there were nine on I-93 from 2010 to 2013 and seven each on the Everett Turnpike and Interstate 293.
The long, cold winter may have given safety officials some breathing room this year. There have been 22 fatal crashes so far, compared with 33 in the same period of 2013.
Quinn said such efforts reach beyond the number of tickets given out.
Meanwhile, with another Bike Week approaching, officials hope to repeat the success of last year. Police took a different approach, Quinn said, putting more cruisers on the roads.
Shapiro said law enforcement alone can't prevent all fatal crashes. That's why the review committee has enlisted a variety of stakeholders, including the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association, to get the safety message out.
There is no better cause, Quinn said: "We're just trying to prevent some family from going through one of these awful events."
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