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The Exchange
Some Facts About New Hampshire’s Infrastructure:New Hampshire has approximately 17,000 miles of state and town roads, turnpikes and interstate highways. There are 3,795 bridges in the state. As of 2010, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation plowed more than 800 lane miles of roads and put down 180,000 tons of salt for snow and ice control annually.The state was given a “C” grade by the American Society of Civil Engineers for the condition of its roads and bridges. New Hampshire was rated among the worst in the country for the poor condition of its bridges by Transportation For America. On average, bridges are older in New Hampshire than those in the rest of the country. There are hundreds of bridges on the so-called “red list,” which means that the bridges have major structural problems and need to be repaired or replaced.The state also has a poor record when it comes to public transportation. New Hampshire has no comprehensive rail system and is rated 42nd in terms of investment in public transportation according to the State Department of Transportation.The majority of New Hampshire’s infrastructure funding comes from vehicle registration fees and gas taxes. The state takes out fewer bond loans than other states and considers its funding a “pay as you go” system. The gas tax, the lowest in New England, has not been raised since 1991. The 2011 Legislature did away with a motor vehicle fee increase. That change has meant more $30 million a year in cuts to DOT.The $800 million expansion of I-93 from Salem to Manchester began in 2006, but has been delayed several times because of a lack of funding. Supporters of the expansion say it will update one of the country’s most congested highways and bring needed tourism revenue to the more isolated and less economically robust northern part of the state. Traffic on I-93 has increased 600 percent since the highway was built in the 1960s and approximately 80,000 cars now drive on it each day.Summary provided by StateImpact NH

N.H. State Police: Steep Decline In Distracted Driving Fatalities Linked To Hands-Free Law

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It's been two years this week since New Hampshire's hands-free driving law banning the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel went into effect.

Major Matt Shapiro of the New Hampshire State Police was one of the leaders behind this law, aimed at getting drivers's eyes away from their phones and on the road.  Speaking on The Exchange, Shapiro says there is clear evidence it's working. 

"We have started changing culture, which takes time," Major Shapiro said. "I think you see far less of this on the roads than you did four years ago, when this was happening at every intersection, as you pass by cars on the interstate. On every Main Street, you saw this going on. That's not taking place today like it was before. A lot of the motoring public has voluntarily complied with the law, which is fantastic."

According to Shapiro, there were two fatal crashes related to distracted driving last year, down from 16  in 2014. However, overall traffic accidents and fatalities continue to remain high. See more information on New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents here

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