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Long Island's deadliest roads and the causes of fatal crashes

Sunrise and Montauk highways along New York State Route 27 had the most fatal vehicle accidents on Long Island from 2012 to 2015, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

An examination of 879 fatal crashes on Long Island during that span recorded by the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System found that Route 27 led all roads with 69 fatal accidents. Rounding out the top five were the Southern State Parkway with 53; Route 25 — including Jericho Turnpike, Middle Country Road and Main Street — with 44; Hempstead Turnpike, also known as Route 24, with 30; and Route 25A, which goes by Fort Salonga Road and Northern Boulevard, among other names, with 27. See below for more facts and trends about fatal accidents on Long Island.

July deadliest month, March worst for drunken driving

July had the highest rate of fatal crashes
Photo Credit: Stringer News Service

July had the highest rate of fatal crashes of any month during the period examined, with one occurring every 1.28 days. October had the second highest, with one every 1.32 days. Fatal crashes occurred least often in February, once every 3.14 days, followed by March, which had one every 2.3 days.

July also led all months in deadly crashes involving speeding with a rate of one every 5.39 days. February's rate of one every 11.3 days was the lowest.

As for crashes involving drunken driving, March had the highest rate, one every 7.75 days. August had the lowest, seeing one every 20.67 days.

Fatal crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists occurred most often in October at a rate of once every 2.64 days. They were least common in August, when one occurred every 8.86 days.

Crashes in which victims did not wear seat belts occurred once every 7.06 days in November, the worst rate of any month. August saw the fewest such crashes, once every 15.5 days.

Shown above is the scene of a fatal crash at exit 57 of the Long Island Expressway in Hauppauge on July 8, 2015.

Sundays most dangerous day, early evening deadliest time

More than a third of all fatal crashes
Photo Credit: Stringer News Service / AJ Ryan

More than a third of all fatal crashes occurred on the weekend; Sunday was the deadliest day of the week with 156 crashes while Saturday had 145. The fewest amount of crashes happened in the middle of the week, with Wednesday seeing the fewest at 102 and Tuesday with 105.

The times of day that saw the most fatal crashes were the early evening and early morning. Breaking the day into eight three-hour time frames, the range from 6 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. had 169 crashes, followed by midnight to 2:59 a.m. at 117. The early afternoon and mid-morning saw the fewest crashes; there were 79 from noon to 2:59 p.m. and 80 from 6 a.m. to 8:59 a.m.

When combining both the day of the week and time of day, Sundays remained the worst day for fatal crashes, but it was specifically on Sundays from 3 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. that saw the most with 29.Wednesdays from noon to 2:59 p.m. saw the fewest with six.

Shown above is the scene of a fatal crash on Montauk Highway at South Country Road in Brookhaven on Jan. 18, 2015.

Yearly trends

Among the accidents that were examined from 2012
Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Among the accidents that were examined from 2012 to 2015, there were 926 total deaths. This is a 4.4 percent decrease from the previous four-year period, which saw 969 deaths from 2008 to 2011. More recently, though, the number of deaths has been on the rise. In 2015 the number jumped to 260, the highest number of deaths since 2007. Shown above is fatal crash involving a garbage truck that occurred on Jericho Turnpike in Commack on Jan. 11, 2013.

Pedestrian deaths more than double the national rate

Long Island's percentage of pedestrians and cyclists killed
Photo Credit: Stringer News / AJ Ryan

Long Island's percentage of pedestrians and cyclists killed in crashes was higher than both the state and country. They accounted for 36.9 percent of all vehicle deaths on Long Island, like this one, in Miller Place on May 5, 2015, higher than the state rate of 30.7 percent and more than double the 17.3 percentage across the United States. Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for 59.6 percent of vehicle deaths in New York City.

Route 27 had the most pedestrian and cyclist deaths with 27. Jericho Turnpike was second with 17 and Hempstead Turnpike was third with 14. Combined, the three roads accounted for 17 percent of all deaths among pedestrians and cyclists.

SSP, Route 27 common sites for drunken driving, speeding accidents

Long Island was slightly below the national averages
Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

Long Island was slightly below the national averages for victims killed in accidents involving drunken driving or speeding. The two categories accounted for 27.9 percent and 25.3 percent of all deaths on the Island from 2012 to 2015, respectively, while in the United States the rates were 30.5 percent and 28.9 percent, respectively.

Of the 122 fatal accidents on Long Island in which drunken driving was a factor, speeding was also a factor 47.5 percent of the time. More than one in every five fatal accidents involving speeding on Long Island during this period occurred on either the Southern State, like the one pictured on the Southern State in Farmingdale on Dec. 5, 2014, or Route 27. The Southern State accounted for 13 percent of such accidents, while Route 27 was second at 7.5 percent. The next closest was Jericho Turnpike at 4 percent. The Southern State and Route 27 led Long Island in fatal drunken driving crashes as well, combining to account for 16.4 percent of all such accidents.

Seat belt use higher than the national average

Long Islanders used vehicle restraints, such as seat
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Islanders used vehicle restraints, such as seat belts and helmets, more often than the rest of the country. Victims in vehicles were found to not have used any type of restraint 31.7 percent of the time, compared to 48.9 percent nationally. Police said this motorist, killed on the Meadowbrook State Parkway in East Garden City on March 18, 2014, was not wearing a seat belt.


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