Motor Vehicle Laws

Police Working on the road

If you have any questions regarding motor vehicle laws, please contact either your local police department or Department of Motor Vehicles. A complete listing of the State's Revised Statutes Annotated can be viewed at the State of New Hampshire's web site.

Reportable Accident: Under New Hampshire Law, all motorists are required to report an accident to the State of New Hampshire or the nearest Police Department if the damage to all property involved is more than $1,000, or if there is personal injury.

Seat BeltsNo person shall drive a motor vehicle on any way while carrying as a passenger a person less than 18 years of age unless such person is wearing a seat or safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened. If the passenger is less than 6 years of age and is less than 55 inches in height, the passenger shall be properly fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint.

LicenseTo operate a motor vehicle in the State of New Hampshire without a license, the operator has to be at least 15 years and 6 months of age; accompanied by an Operator with a Valid License and over the age of 25, AND, the operator's right to drive in the State has not been suspended by the State of New Hampshire. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 operate on what is called a Youth Operator License. Click here to view the restrictions for this license.

Is it illegal to drive while talking on a cell phone? YES
New Hampshire’s hands-free law, RSA 265:79-c, was passed in 2014 and went into effect July 1, 2015. Another law relating to this topic, RSA 265:105-a, prohibits a driver of a motor vehicle from writing a text message while driving. We have listed several additional statutes which could also apply to a driver using hand-held electronic devices while driving. That kind of behavior could be brought as a civil offense under either reckless driving, vehicular assault, or negligent driving, under RSA 265:79, 79-a or 79-b, respectively, or, if severe enough, could become a criminal offense as defined in RSA 626:2.

RSA 265. Rules of the Road

See RSA 265:79. Reckless Driving; Minimum Penalty, RSA 265:79-a. Vehicular Assault, RSA 265:79-b. Negligent Driving, RSA 265:79-c. Use of Mobile Electronic Devices while Driving; Prohibition and RSA 265:105-a. Prohibited Text Messages and Device Usage While Operating a Motor Vehicle.

RSA 626. General Principles

See RSA 626:2, II(c). General Requirements of Culpability

For New Hampshire residents, the Department of Motor Vehicles is in Concord, New Hampshire at (603) 271-2251. If you have a question regarding either licensing or registration, please contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in Milford, New Hampshire at (603) 672-3109 or Merrimack at (603) 889-0146.

263:14 Original and Youth Operators' Licenses.

I. The director, upon receiving proper application for an original driver's license, may in the director's discretion issue a license designated as an original, with such designation to be effective until the fifth anniversary of the license holder's date of birth following the date of issuance to allow such applicant to gain proper driving habits, attitudes, and experience.
II. (a) The director shall issue a youth operator's license to applicants who are 16 years of age or older and under 21 years of age. The youth operator license shall expire on the 21st anniversary of the applicant's date of birth. In addition to any other requirements established by law, no such license shall be issued to applicants under 18 years of age unless the applicant meets the requirements of RSA 263:17 or furnishes written consent from the applicant's parent or legal guardian and a certificate of successful completion of a driver education course as provided in RSA 263:19.
    (b) The holder of a youth operator's license shall not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., nor shall such holder operate a motor vehicle when the number of occupants exceeds the number of safety restraints in the vehicle.
    (c) During the first 6 months after issuance of the license, the holder of a youth operator's license shall not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger less than 25 years of age who is not a member of the holder's family unless accompanied by a licensed responsible adult who is at least 25 years of age.
    (d) Violation of RSA 263:14, II, (b) or (c) shall subject the violator to a fine not to exceed $100 and a license suspension not to exceed 30 days. Subsequent violations shall subject the violator to a fine of not more than $200 and a license suspension of up to 90 days.
    (e) This paragraph shall not apply to drivers licensed under RSA 263:21.
    (f) The restrictions set forth in RSA 263:14, II(b), (c), and (d) shall not apply to drivers who are over 18 years of age.
    (g) [Repealed.]
III. (a) The director is authorized to revoke or suspend any original license held by a person under 20 years of age after a hearing upon a showing by its records or other sufficient evidence that the driver has committed an offense, excluding the offenses of RSA 261:40, RSA 261:59, and RSA 266:5, following the issuance of an original license for which the original license holder has been convicted.
     (b) The periods of suspension or revocation set forth in subparagraph III(a) of this section shall be as follows:
          (1) For a first offense 20 days.
          (2) For a second offense 45 days.
          (3) For a third or subsequent offense 90 days.
     (c) A suspension or revocation imposed under this section shall not run concurrently with any other penalty imposed under the provisions of title XXI.
     (d) The director, after hearing, may suspend or revoke an original license or any license held by a person under 20 years of age for good cause upon receipt of proper evidence or information of misconduct, misuse, or abuse of such driving privileges. Circumstances constituting misuse, abuse, or misconduct of driving privileges shall include driving behavior which poses an immediate hazard to the operator or to the safety or property of others on or near the roadway, or, when considered with other driving offenses, which demonstrates a repeated disregard for public safety.
     (e) Notwithstanding RSA 605:6 or any provision of law to the contrary, any conviction for an offense which is used as a basis for suspension or revocation of an original license under this section and which involves a plea of nolo contendere shall be treated in the same manner as a conviction which involves a guilty plea.
IV. A driver who is under 18 years of age shall not be subject to license suspension for a first violation of RSA 265:107-a, I-a.

Source. RSA 261:11-a. 1959, 285:1. 1975, 382:4. 1979, 358:2, II. 1981, 146:1. 1997, 257:1. 1999, 227:2. 2000, 306:1. 2001, 89:1. 2001, 91:9. 2002, 83:2, 3. 2003, 170:1, 2, eff. July 1, 2003. 2004, 173:1-4, 6, eff. May 25, 2004.

265:79-b. Negligent Driving. RSA 265:79-b effective January 1, 2002.- Whoever upon any way drives a vehicle negligently or causes a vehicle to be driven negligently, as defined in RSA 626:2, II(d), or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property shall be guilty of a violation.