New Hampshire New Resident Guide
Welcome to New Hampshire! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in New Hampshire. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!
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Licensing and Residency Requirements Graduated Licensing Program Violation Point Counts Insurance Requirements Headlight Laws Implied Consent Laws DUI Penalties Open Container Law Red Light Violation Fines Construction Zone Penalties Turn Signal Information Hazard Light Information Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws School Bus Laws Bicyclist Passing Distance Motorcycle Laws Using the Shoulder to Pass Passing Laws Speed Limits Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws Emergency Vehicle Laws
Licensing and Residency Requirements
- Once a person has established residency in New Hampshire, he/she has a maximum of 60 days to register his/her vehicle(s) and obtain a New Hampshire driver license
- Any New Hampshire driver who changes his or her name or address is required by law to submit written notification to the DMV within 10 days.
Graduated Licensing Program
- Must be 15 years and 6 months.
Privileges and Restrictions
- Teens may practice driving if accompanied in the front seat by a parent, legal guardian, or other licensed adult who is 25 years of age or older.
Youth Operator's License
- Must be 16.
- Must have completed driver education.
Privileges and Restrictions
- For first 6 months, may have no more than 1 passenger (other than family members) under 25 in the vehicle.
- May not operate motor vehicle between 1 AM and 4 AM.
- Must have held Youth Operator License until 21st birthday, or 1 year after last conviction if convicted of certain offenses.
Violation Point Counts
The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.
6 Point Violations
- Aggravated DWI
- Alteration of title
- Change or remove vehicle ID Number
- Conduct after accident
- Disobeying police officer
- False report of theft
- Lending license to minor to purchase alcohol
- Odometer tampering
- Road racing
- School bus violation
- Taking without owner's consent
- Transporting drugs in a motor vehicle
4 Point Violations
- Driving without proof of financial responsibility
- Failure to drive on right hand side of road
- Improper passing
- Speeding at rate of 25 mph or greater over posted speed limit
3 Point Violations
- Abandoned vehicles
- Speeding at rate of 1-24 mph over posted speed limit
2 Point Violations
- Allowing improper person to drive commercial vehicle
- Failure to display or produce license for officer
How Long Points Remain on Record
The number of demerit points assessed for a motor vehicle conviction will appear on a certified copy of a record for three years from the date of the violation.
|6 Points in one calendar year||up to 3 months suspension|
|12 Points in two calendar years||up to 6 months suspension|
|18 Points in three calendar years||up to 1 year suspension|
|9 Points in one calendar year||up to 3 months suspension|
|15 Points in two calendar years||up to 6 months suspension|
|21 Points in three calendar years||up to 1 year suspension|
|12 Points in one calendar year||up to 3 months suspension|
|18 Points in two calendar years||up to 6 months suspension|
|24 Points in three calendar years||up to 1 year suspension|
New Hampshire has no mandatory insurance law. The Division of Motor Vehicles strongly recommends and urges all owners of motor vehicles to carry standard liability and property damage insurance.
The Division of Motor Vehicles may require that persons have insurance (SR-22). If you fall under an insurance filing requirement, the Division of Motor Vehicles will notify you of this in writing.
You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 150 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 150 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.
You must use your headlights:
- From one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
- Any time your vision is limited, or when you cannot clearly make out objects at a distance of 1000 feet ahead.
There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.
Implied Consent Laws
- First refusal where there has been no previous DWI offense - Suspension for 180 days
- Second refusal or a first refusal where there has been a previous DWI offense - Suspension for 2 years
- These revocations are not to run concurrently with any other suspension or revocation.
First conviction (Class B misdemeanor)
- $500 - $1,200 fine
- 9 months - 2 years license revocation
Second conviction (Class A misdemeanor)
- $750 - $2,000
- Up to 1 year imprisonment
- At least 3 years license revocation
Third conviction (Class A misdemeanor)
- $750 - $2,000 fine
- 180 days - 1 year imprisonment
- 5 years - indefinite license revocation
Fourth or subsequent conviction (felony)
- $750 - $4,000 fine
- 180 days - 1 year imprisonment
- 7 years - indefinite license suspension
- A court may sentence a defendant to community service as a condition of a suspended sentence or probation.
- Any person convicted of DWI while transporting a person under the age of 16 shall have the driver's license or privilege to drive revoked for the maximum time period and not restored until the offender has completed an impaired driver care management program within 14 days of conviction. Additionally such driver shall undergo a substance abuse disorder evaluation if testing suggests a disorder.
Impaired driver education program
- Court may order for any alcohol-related offense
- Required for Aggravated DWI or subsequent DWI offenders for 1 - 2 years following license reinstatement
Open Container Law
The Open Container Law prohibits possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, by any occupant of the vehicle, on any public highway or right of way, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.
Red Light Violation Fines
- Red light cameras are prohibited.
- No statewide fine amount in above list, cannot find elsewhere.
Construction Zone Penalties
Speeding violations when workers are present are subject to a $250 - $500 fine.
Turn Signal Information
Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance.
Hazard Light Information
Hazard light use is permitted.
Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws
- All vehicles in the procession must follow one another as closely as safely possible and should be marked with funeral flags or windshield signs, headlights, tail lights, and hazard flashers. The escort vehicle must have a purple flashing or emergency light.
- When the lead vehicle has entered an intersection lawfully, the other vehicles may proceed without regard to the traffic signal.
- Funeral processions have the right-of-way.
School Bus Laws
- Vehicles are required to stop unless the bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway.
- You must stop your vehicle at least 25 feet from the school bus.
- Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a $100 - $750 fine.
Bicyclist Passing Distance
A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.
- Motorcycle Learner's Permit: Upon application, the DMV shall issue a motorcycle learner's permit to a person age 18 or older or to a person who is 16 or 17 and has successfully completed an approved driver education course. Applicants for such permit shall furnish proof of their fitness to drive a motorcycle, including either passing of a written basic motorcycle knowledge test or successful completion of the motorcycle rider education program.
- A motorcycle learner's permit shall permit the holder of such permit to drive a motorcycle on any road after sunrise and before sunset. Passengers are prohibited. The permit shall be valid for 45 days from the date of issuance or until the holder of the permit obtains a special license to drive motorcycles.
- Class D: Non-Commercial Operator's License. May also be "moped only," "motorcycle only" or "motorcycle also."
- If a motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield or screen which protects the driver's eyes and face when the driver is sitting erect, the driver shall wear either eyeglasses, goggles, or a protective face shield when driving the motorcycle.
- Every motorcycle, driven during the period between one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, and whenever rain, snow, or fog shall interfere with the proper view of the road so that persons and vehicles on the road are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead, shall display at least 1 lighted head-lamp on the front.
Sharing the Road
- Lane splitting is not authorized.
- Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.
Using the Shoulder to Pass
You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.
Do Not Pass:
- When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
- When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
- When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.
When Being Passed:
- Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
- The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
- Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
- Operating a motor vehicle above the following speed limits is considered prima facie evidence that such speed is not reasonable or prudent and is unlawful.
- 65 mph on the interstate system and other highways designated via statute;
- Such designations include those portions of the central and eastern New Hampshire turnpikes that are four-lane divided highways and on other divided highways that have four or more lanes.
- 55 mph on other highways;
- 35 mph in rural residential districts and Class V highways outside the compact part of a city or town;
- 30 mph in a business or urban residential district;
- 25 mph for a vehicle equipped with a transponder through a toll booth/gate;
- 10 mph below the usual posted speed limit in a school zone;
- This limit is in effect from 45 minutes before until 45 minutes after school hours.
- 10 mph below the usual posted speed limit but in no case greater than
- 45 mph on a portion of a highway where persons are at work.
Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws
- New Hampshire does not have a safety belt law.
- Children 6 years and younger who are less than 57 inches tall must be in a child seat.
- Children 7 - 17 years and children younger than 7 who are at least 57 inches tall must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
- Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
- The fine for a first offense is $50.
Emergency Vehicle Laws
- When in or approaching an incident involving a fire, collision, disaster, or other emergency resulting in partial or complete blockage of a highway, or a location where a police officer has made a traffic stop, you must:
- Maintain a reduced speed.
- Obey the directions of any authorized person directing traffic and of all applicable emergency signals and traffic control devices.
- Vacate as soon as possible any lane wholly or partially blocked.
- Give a wide berth, without endangering oncoming traffic, to public safety personnel, any persons in the roadway, and stationary vehicles displaying blue, red, or amber emergency or warning lights.
- Do not follow a fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm closer than 500 feet, or drive into or park within the block where the fire apparatus has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.
- Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled
- You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
- Driver's name, address, and driver's license number;
- Name and address of each occupant;
- Vehicle registration number.
- Report crash
- If none of the other people involved in the accident are in a condition to receive the information you are required to give them, you must report this information to any police officer at the scene or at the nearest police station.
- If the crash resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more, you must report the accident in writing within 15 days after the accident, unless the accident was investigated by a law enforcement officer. If the driver is not physically capable of making this report, the owner of the vehicle or the owner's representative must report the accident.