19 NH State Trooper cruisers hit this winter, a 300 percent increase
CONCORD - An urgent message was delivered Friday, not only state lawmakers, but also the N.H. State police.
The police held a press conference Friday to discuss the high number of state police cruisers that have been hit by passing motorists.
The message is clear, if you see an emergency vehicle up ahead slow down and move over if possible.
"It only takes a second to change your life or the life of someone else forever," Trooper Eric Shirley, a 15-year veteran of the State Police, said.
19 police cruisers have been hit this winter, an increase of 300 percent over previous years.
State Police Director Robert Quinn says its simple. People are driving too fast for the road conditions.
"And over the years, I can't tell you how many times I've been missed by a car by less than a foot," says Trooper Shirley. "Last summer I had to jump over the hood of my car while someone was distracted and almost hit my car."
Shirley has been hit while in his cruiser three times in the last three years. "Those are the two biggest things that you can do to get there safely," Shirley says. "Slow down, especially in winter weather and move over. It only takes a second to change your life or the life of someone else forever."
But, it's not just police cruisers. Quinn says during the Thanksgiving storm, in one day, 521 cars were involved in accidents or went off the road.
"Obey the law," says State senator Lou D'Allesandro. "That's all. Obey the law."
That means obey New Hampshire's Move Over Law.
That law means when there's emergency activity on the side of the road, you're required to more over and give troopers the space they need to do their job.
"If you see any blue lights, red lights, amber lights first responders, that if possible you should give a wide berth moving over reducing your speed," State Police Lt. Matt Shapiro said.
"Protect those who protect you. Before one of us, one of them, is seriously injured," Quinn said.
Officials focused on reminding the public it could just take one wrong move and a trooper and his family's lives could be changed forever.
"I've been married for 23 years," Shirley said. "I have two kids that are teenagers. I would just like everyone else to see them grow up."
Troopers are also concerned that if there's one crash, there could always be a second one if drivers either don't see it if they're distracted or too busy looking at the first crash as they drive by.
Plus, officials were quick to point out drivers could be fined for not obeying the law.