Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison announced that patrols will increase along highways and roadways during what is referred to as the 100 deadliest days of summer.  Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

Suffolk County police will increase patrols on area roadway through Labor Day — a period coined by law enforcement as the '100 deadliest days of summer' when vehicular fatalities spike across the region and throughout the nation.

County law enforcement officials said there's typically a near 30% uptick in vehicular accidents during the summer compared to the rest of the year, often involving young drivers.

Nationally, the number of fatal teen driver crashes climbs 15% between Memorial Day and Labor Day, statistics show.

"Driving a car and committing a traffic violation is dangerous," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said during a news conference Wednesday in Yaphank. "A car can become a 4,000-pound weapon. And that's why this announcement is so important. If you choose to speed. If you choose to be on your cellphone while driving. If you choose to be under some kind of influence from alcohol or drugs you will be stopped and you will be held accountable." 

From September 2020 through May 2021, there were 63 fatal crashes on Suffolk roads, or an average of seven each month, according to department statistics. From June 2021 through August 2021, there were 27 fatal crashes, or an average of nine each month, the data shows.

Suffolk County Police Chief of Patrol Gerard Hardy said the department recently deployed five additional officers to the Highway Patrol site team, which is dedicated to traffic enforcement in the region. Those officers and others, he said, will be visible on Suffolk roadways and highways during the summer months in an effort to improve traffic safety.

"The goal obviously is voluntary compliance," Hardy said. "But when we don't meet voluntary compliance we do enforcement in the form of tickets and arrests."

Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Carter said the department meets with precinct commanders each week to discuss where traffic accidents are occurring so that resources can be properly deployed "for both enforcement and increased visibility."

Harrison said far too many unnecessary deaths are occurring on county roads.

"Too often members of our police department are notifying loved ones that their family member will not be coming home," he said. "And it's happening too often."

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said his department will also increase patrols.

“As the warm weather approaches and more people are out, the Nassau County Police will increase and intensify patrols both on our roadways and waterways to ensure the safety of our public," he said. "We continue to have a zero tolerance approach regarding excessive speed, reckless driving and operating any vehicle or boat while under the influence of drugs and alcohol."

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