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How to stop reckless driving

Investigators at the scene of a fatal crash

Investigators at the scene of a fatal crash on the Southern State Parkway in North Babylon that police said was caused by drivers of two SUVs "operating erratically." Credit: Howard Simmons

The powers that be should sit down and resolve to fix the lawlessness on our roadways ["Reckless driving: No anomaly," Letters, July 18]. Cameras should be installed at intervals that can catch dangerous speeders, weavers and tailgaters.

Insurance companies can hire people to identify and monitor the perpetrators. They have the power to remove car owners from their insurance rolls and send the information to the police and Department of Motor Vehicles. The state can send out hefty fines, and driving privileges can be suspended. The only way to stop this reckless behavior is to hit people where it hurts — in their pocketbooks.

I hope our lawmakers bring back safety for law-abiding taxpayers who fear traveling on our roadways.

— Thomas Melia, Oak Beach

Your editorial "Time to stop reckless driving" was right on the mark [July 16].

Cameras can identify a vehicle by its license plate when going through a toll plaza. Why can’t the same be done on the Southern State Parkway to identify speeding vehicles? Tickets can be mailed, as is done with red-light cameras.

Place cameras a mile apart, monitoring both directions. This would make speeders aware that they would usually be within camera range. I believe the cost of the cameras would be more than offset by the money generated by fines. And how many lives will be saved?

— W.J. Van Sickle, Brentwood

I agree that Richard Riggs’ death is a tragedy. The drivers — particularly on the Southern State, Belt and Cross Island parkways — who drive 50-55 miles per hour in the left lane cause accidents because drivers change lanes twice just to pass them.

I’m not advocating driving 85 mph. Driving 10 mph over the speed limit generally seems to be allowed. If you’re in the left lane and several cars pass you, move to the middle or right lane.

If you’re in the middle lane and cars are passing you on the left and right, move to the right lane.

If you drive in the middle lane because you fear cars entering the parkway or you’re going less than 50 mph, maybe you shouldn’t be on the parkway or driving at all.

Driving slowly in the left lane seems to be a New York phenomenon — I rarely see it in New Jersey or Connecticut. Those states have signs saying, "Keep right except to pass" or "Left lane for passing." Passing someone is not reckless driving, but I do agree with readers who recommend speed cameras and unmarked cars.

— Marc Eiger, Wantagh

Richard Riggs’ life was cut short unnecessarily due to speeding and reckless driving.     Other things, though, contributed to this unfortunate loss of life. The speed limit on most highways on Long Island is 55 mph, yet most drivers seem to average 60-70 mph. The speed limit is rarely enforced, and traffic continues daily at this hectic pace.

Years ago, automobiles were made of steel and iron. Many highway accidents resulted in damage that could be repaired. Today, the material used is lighter. That provides for faster acceleration and better gas mileage, a selling point for the auto manufacturers. It seems most traffic accidents result in a badly damaged vehicle that is beyond repair and results in serious injury or death.

— Edward Glickstein, East Meadow

I live off of Exit 18 of the Southern State Parkway and have been driving there since 1978. It has gotten so much worse.

I travel the parkway several times a month at different times of the day, usually heading to Suffolk County. I cannot recall a time when I have not seen at least one car weaving in and out without signaling.

Last month, I observed this game of cat and mouse around 10:30 p.m. heading westbound at Exit 33. Two vehicles passed me in the left lane, then started challenging each other. They began weaving in and out, becoming increasingly hazardous since the amount of traffic also increased. They continued past Exit 18, where I left the parkway. I kept hoping a state trooper would see them and decided next time I will call 911.

Something needs to be done. Until then, unfortunately, more will die from this.

— Regina Mascia, W. Hempstead

When we wanted people to stop smoking, cigarette commercials were all over TV with public service spots.

Automobile commercials, it seems, have a different message: drive fast no matter the road conditions — going straight, making serpentine maneuvers — just pedal to the metal.  Auto companies should make more responsible ads.  

— Bob Andreocci, Huntington

I am 82, a retiree who has recently experienced the horrors of driving to Brooklyn from Suffolk County. Other drivers seem to break almost every traffic law, such as not signaling when changing lanes and crossing HOV lines multiple times. And a police patrol car is hardly ever in sight.

— Stuart Koenig, East Northport

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