Rep. Mulligan Joins Safety Advocates at NH Statehouse to Discuss Seat Belt Bill

  • February 5, 2018
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Contact Eric Naing, 217-493-8294,


New Hampshire House Transportation Committee Holds Hearing on Lifesaving Seat Belt Bill 

Diverse and Broad Coalition, Including Traffic Safety, Public Health, and Medical Organizations, Joins Rep. Mary Jane Mulligan (D) to Urge Committee to Advance HB 1259


MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Rep. Mary Jane Mulligan (D), sponsor of House Bill (HB) 1259, and a coalition of public health and traffic safety groups and first responders will be available to discuss the urgent need for a primary enforcement seat belt law for all vehicle occupants. Additionally, a highway safety specialist from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and a safety advocate from the National Transportation Safety Board will be available to answer questions on the issue of unbelted motor vehicle occupants and seat belts. HB 1259 will be considered by the House Transportation Committee tomorrow, February 6, at 10:00 AM EST.

In 2016, traffic crashes claimed the lives of 136 people on New Hampshire roads, marking the largest number of motor vehicle fatalities since 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Seat belts saved the lives of 29 people in the state in 2016, yet 22 more could have been saved with 100 percent seat belt use (NHTSA). New Hampshire is the only state without a seat belt law. It also has the lowest seat belt use rate in the nation. Laws requiring seat belts are a proven solution to getting people to buckle up and helping curb the epidemic of motor vehicle crash deaths, injuries, and related costs.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 9:00 AM EST – One hour before the bill hearing


New Hampshire Statehouse, outside LOB Room 203, 107 North Main Street, Concord, NH  03301


Rep. Mary Jane Mulligan (D – Hanover/Lyme), Sponsor of HB 1259

Tara Gill, Director of State Programs, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Daniel Goodman, Public Affairs Manager NH and VT, AAA Northern New England

Howard Hedegard, Defensive Driving Instructor, NH Traffic Safety Institute

Lisa Patterson, MD, FACS, New Hampshire State Chair, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma

Stacey Savage, President, New Hampshire Emergency Nurses Association

Stephanie D. Shaw, Safety Advocate, National Transportation Safety Boar

Brief Statements from Available Participants:

Rep. Mary Jane Mulligan: “2016 was the deadliest year since 2008 on New Hampshire roads. With 74 percent of those killed in crashes involving motor vehicles with seat belts not using them, we can and must do more to get people to buckle up. Every tragic, preventable death creates a ripple effect of pain and sorrow for families, friends, and communities. HB 1259 will help send the message that wearing a seat belt is your first line of defense in a crash and will empower law enforcement to reduce the current unacceptable number of crashes involving unbuckled motorists.”

Tara Gill, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety: “Research and experience shows us that when states enact primary enforcement seat belt laws, their seat belt use increases, lives are saved, injuries are prevented, and crash costs are reduced. HB 1259 will improve safety on New Hampshire roadways by making sure every passenger in every seating position buckles up on every trip.”

Daniel Goodman, AAA Northern New England: “Automobiles and highways have never been safer yet crashes resulting in fatalities and life changing injuries continue to rise. The single most effective action you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones is to buckle up.”

Howard Hedegard, Jr., New Hampshire Traffic Safety Institute: “While the national average for seat belt use is just over 90 percent, the seat belt use rate in New Hampshire dropped last year to only 67.6 percent. The reality remains that, although many understand that seat belts are one of, if not the, most important safety features in a motor vehicle, others need to have their use mandated before they will use them.”

Lisa A. Patterson, MD, New Hampshire American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma: “Requiring seat belt use helps to make sure everyone wears a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt helps to ensure you live free and don’t die.”  

Stacey Savage, New Hampshire Emergency Nurses Association: “As an ER Nurse, I see firsthand the devastating impact of not wearing a seat belt. It’s time to stop these heart-wrenching, preventable losses by advancing HB 1259. In addition to saving lives, this legislation will save money. Each year, traffic crashes cost over $1.3 billion in our state alone. This is basically a ‘crash tax’ of $1,043 for every New Hampshire resident.”

Stephanie Shaw, National Transportation Safety Board: “More than nine out of 10 people who die in transportation-related accidents, die in motor vehicle crashes. Whether you are a driver or a passenger, your single best defense against injury and death in a crash is the proper use of a seat belt. Based on National Transportation Safety Board highway crash investigations, we’ve recommended that New Hampshire and other states enact primary seat belt laws that apply to all vehicle occupants, in all vehicles equipped with seat belts.”