Commuters along the LIE at Exit 58 in Islandia. More...

Commuters along the LIE at Exit 58 in Islandia. More than half of drivers surveyed in a new study admitted to dangerous or distracted driving. Credit: James Carbone

More than half of drivers surveyed nationally admitted to dangerous or distracted driving, according to a AAA study, and experts say a similar trend can be seen in motorists on Long Island and the region.

Nearly 60% of drivers in an anonymous national survey to AAA said they engaged in risky behavior including speeding, driving aggressively, distracted driving, including texting behind the wheel, or driving impaired. About 2% of drivers admitted committing all of the listed dangerous behaviors.

"The fact is they know what they’re doing," said Robert Sinclair, spokesman for AAA Northeast. "It should be relatively easy to change this bad and dangerous behavior. It extends from the most dangerous drivers who admit it and everyone else admits this bad behavior."

More than 20% of drivers admitted driving at least 15 mph over the speed limit on highways and 10 mph over the limit on surface streets, according to the study.

Sinclair noted that 36% of fatal crashes in New York were speed-related in 2021, but fewer drivers in the study considered speeding as dangerous behavior.

"They know it’s bad and creates problems, yet they continue to engage in it," Sinclair said. "Speeding is always the worst. It is the most upfront and obvious consequences. It's emblematic of the fact that higher speeds lead to greater damage to the vehicle and the driver."

Janine Logan, a spokeswoman for the New York Coalition of Transportation and Safety in Westbury, said a recent spate of crashes on Long Island and behavior of dangerous drivers was alarming.

Logan said she had not yet reviewed the AAA study, but said the results showed the risks of such driving to other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“It’s absolutely disturbing and kind of proves what we’ve been observing,” Logan said. “When you look at the statistics, the numbers of those injured and killed are not going down and are going in the wrong direction. People do seem to have a disregard to follow the rules of the road.”

Advocates said drivers need to slow down and follow traffic regulations to have more consideration for other drivers on the road.

New York State Police on Long Island said they “aggressively enforce and focus on dangerous driving behaviors through regular patrols and targeted enforcement details” focusing on speeding, impaired and distracted driving.

“We will continue to focus our efforts on keeping motorists safe through enforcement and education,” state police said.

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