By John Toole
---- — New Hampshire police are planning saturation patrols to crack down on DWI and other offenses as Christmas approaches.
State Police and other agencies, including the Pelham Police Department, announced the combined effort yesterday. They plan to call attention to the traffic enforcement campaign at a press conference tomorrow in Goffstown.
“Saving lives on New Hampshire roadways is a top priority and we need everyone’s help to do it,” said Col. Robert Quinn, chief of the state police.
The patrols come as police try to hold the line on the highway death toll, now at 101 for the year.
New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency coordinator Peter Thomson said the death toll is up from 90 for all of last year, the lowest in at least 50 years.
”Motorcycles account for 28 of the 101,” he said. “Last year, there were 14 motorcycle fatalities, so it’s double.”
State Police Lt. Chris Wagner, who oversees Troop B, which patrols Interstate 93 in Southern New Hampshire, said extra enforcement details began before Thanksgiving.
Police are trying to keep travelers safe and cut down not only on DWI, but speeding and crashes, too, Wagner said.
”A big target is I-93,” Wagner said. “Our biggest problem area is between Exits 3 and 5.”
That is the stretch of I-93 between Londonderry and Windham.
Police urge people to plan a safe way home from holiday festivities.
Among their tips: Designate a sober driver; call a taxi, friend or relative for a ride; use a community “Sober Rides” program or public transportation; take the keys of someone trying to drive impaired; call 911 after seeing someone driving erratically.