The number of traffic fatalities in New Hampshire last year increased 12 percent but was in line with figures for the past couple of years, unlike many parts of the country that have seen sharp hikes in deadly vehicle crashes during the pandemic.

New Hampshire State Police reported that 116 died in crashes last year compared to 104 in 2020. While it is an increase, it is still less than in recent years: In 2018, for example, 143 people died in crashes.

Police said 21 motorcycle operators and 4 motorcycle passengers died in crashes last year, the same as in 2020. A total of 9 pedestrians were killed, a sharp decrease from 2020’s tally of 16 deaths, and 2 bicyclists died after being hit by drivers in vehicles.

The nation as a whole has seen a sharp rise in crashes and fatalities since the pandemic began, attributed to a mix of more drinking and driving, and more reckless driving on emptier roads.

Although full-year data are not available for 2021, through the first six months of 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes, up 18.4 percent from the same period of 2020 and the biggest six-month tally in more than a decade.

The 2021 increase came on top of a big increase in 2020, when an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes, the largest number since 2007.

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This article is being shared by a partner in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.