State police say they'll be increasing enforcement along the Southern...

State police say they'll be increasing enforcement along the Southern State Parkway.

Credit: Johnny Milano

Texting while driving. Speeding. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

New York State Police say they will be out in force along the Southern State Parkway in an effort to stop some of the dangerous behaviors leading to crashes on the 25.5-mile roadway.

State police announced Friday they will increase patrols, including DWI checkpoints and speed and distracted driving enforcement details, in several high-incident areas of the parkway during peak travel times. The extra patrols will also target aggressive drivers, state police said.

Trooper Daniel Ahlgrim, a state police spokesman, said the initiative will start right away.

“With increased presence and enforcement, the goal is to decrease the amount of crashes, especially ones involving serious injuries and fatalities on the parkway,” Ahlgrim said.

The Southern State is one of the deadliest parkways on Long Island, according to a 2022 Newsday analysis. Crashes on the parkway killed 229 people from 2002 to 2021.

The section of the parkway between Exits 17 and 32 is known as “Blood Alley” because of the high number of deadly crashes. The area is known for a series of sharp curves and short exit and entrance ramps, according to a recent study by the Long Island Contractors’ Association.

A proposal in the State Legislature would increase enforcement, add speed cameras and double fines for speeding and other traffic violations.

According to statistics provided to Newsday by state police in April, two people had died on the Suffolk County portion of the parkway to that point, while no deaths had occurred on the Nassau section.

In 2022, six people died as a result of crashes on the parkway in Nassau and seven people in Suffolk.

As of early April this year, 614 crashes were recorded on the Nassau section of the parkway — 142 with reported injuries. In 2022, there were 2,674 crashes — 615 of those with injuries.

In Suffolk, there were 184 crashes and 45 with injuries as of April. Last year, 791 crashes were reported — 224 with injuries.

In March, Osmar Vasquez, a junior at West Babylon High School, died after the car he was riding in crashed on the shoulder of the parkway between exits 36 and 37. He was 17 years old.

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