Suffolk County is Home to Many of New York’s Most Dangerous Roads
SUFFOLK COUNTY, Long Island, N.Y. — Many of the state’s most dangerous roads are in Suffolk County, according to multiple studies. As a result, Suffolk continues to lead the state in vehicle-related crashes and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,143 people died in Long Island car accidents from 2012 to 2016.
The New York State Department of Health’s most recent statistics find that 129 Suffolk County residents die and 1,469 are hospitalized annually because of motor vehicle traffic injuries. In 2019, Suffolk also led the state in pedestrian deaths, with 400, according to AAA Northeast. Motor vehicles are the fourth leading cause of death in Suffolk County and the second leading cause of hospitalization.
Traffic experts cited by the New York Times say that Suffolk County roads were just not designed to handle their current volume of traffic. Dense, poorly planned development has created numerous problems for motorists in Suffolk County, who abruptly alternate between rural and congested areas. Those conditions, one expert argued, create a culture of fast driving in the county. . In response to a July 2021 crash that killed five, Quogue Police Chief Chris Isola said, “Many of our corners you cannot safely navigate without changing your speed,” Suffolk County engineers have repeatedly noted accident rates – but have never agreed on measures to mitigate them.
Jericho Turnpike (also known as State Route 25) has repeatedly been ranked the most dangerous road in New York State for pedestrians. Running through Smithtown and Riverhead as Main Street, North Fork as Main Road and other locations as Middle County Road, Jericho Turnpike is consistently dangerous: from 1998 to 2002, 78 people died in accidents. The road is also considered the most dangerous in Suffolk for walking and biking, with 206 injuries and nine fatalities, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Sunrise Highway (also known as NY 27) runs 120 miles, from Brooklyn to Montauk, giving access to towns along the South Shore. The NTHSA reports 86 fatal car accidents on the road from 2012 to 2016. Sunrise Highway was named the tri-state region’s third deadliest road for pedestrians, with 146 bike and pedestrian crashes from 2014 to 2016, including 11 pedestrian deaths, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Montauk Highway runs for 95 miles along the south shore of Suffolk County. Known as NY 27A to Oakdale, NY 27 east of Southampton, then CR 80 and CR 85 beyond Southampton, Montauk Highway forms the main street of most communities in the Hamptons – but is also known for blind curves, where drivers rarely slow down to the speed limit, so they are unable to see oncoming traffic between town. The NHTSA reports 17 fatal accidents on Montauk Highway from 2012 to 2016.
The Long Island Expressway is wide and flat, encouraging high speeds. It also serves as the main route for commercial trucks serving Long Island, increasing the severity of many accidents. The NHTSA counted 35 fatal accidents on the LIE from 2012 to 2016.
Neighboring Nassau County is also home to several dangerous roads. The Hempstead Turnpike and the Nassau County stretch of Sunrise Highway both regularly make the state’s ten most dangerous roadways list.
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