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Iowa's governor has restored the right to vote for people with past felony convictions via executive order; and Tennessee has a primary election today.

Emergency Nurses Rate NH “One of the Worst” for Roadway Safety

December 29, 2008

Concord, NH – New Hampshire's reluctance to make it law that adults wear seat belts has landed the state at the bottom of the list in the new National Scorecard on State Roadway Laws report from the Emergency Nurses Association.

The group's president is Denise King, and she says the state's traffic death statistics show the results of not having an adult seat belt law.

"Out of 86 deaths, 60 were unrestrained. Now, would those 60 have lived if they were restrained? Their chances would have been much greater."

New Hampshire's legislature has turned down previous proposals to require adults to buckle up, citing it as a law that would impose on personal freedom. Even so, it's expected the legislature will look at an adult seat belt requirement again in the upcoming session.

King finds talk of "personal freedom" is common from seat belt opponents, but she cites it as a personal freedom that can greatly impose on others' freedom when a person is seriously injured because they didn't wear a seat belt.

"When they no longer can work and support themselves, and support their families, and they don't have health insurance anymore – society's taking care of them at that point."

The other trend the group has found in their research is that when adults buckle up, children are more likely to be restrained, and King calls that a "win-win."

"What we really want to do is try to decrease the injuries and the fatalities, because so many of them could be prevented."

New Hampshire does get a good grade in the report for its state trauma system, which helps get seriously injured people to the most appropriate hospital for treatment. Oregon and Washington received perfect scores in the report.
Read the full report and recommendations for saving lives at www.ena.org.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - NH