State police to crack down on speeders, drunk drivers
BY JOHN VALENTI
Email this story
Printer friendly format
March 1, 2007, 11:59 AM EST
Following a recent rash of fatal accidents on the Southern State Parkway, including two last month that claimed four lives after cars struck the same bridge overpass in Baldwin, state police have announced a "safety initiative" that would crackdown on speeders, aggressive drivers and drunk drivers on the parkway.
"The purpose of this safety initiative is to save lives and to raise public awareness of the dangers of speeding, aggressive driving and driving while intoxicated," said Maj. Walter Heesch, commander of the State Police Troop L barracks.
The crackdown is in effective immediately.
According to Heech, troopers will "saturate" the Southern State with "dedicated patrols and enforcement details."
"If you are ignoring any vehicle and traffic laws," Heesch said, "you will be ticketed."
Since Jan. 1 there have been 10 fatal accidents on a 10-mile stretch of the Southern State -- from Exit 17 in Nassau County to Exit 32 in Suffolk -- that has been dubbed "Blood Alley."
Two of the most horrific crashes occurred at Exit 20, Grand Avenue, in Baldwin.
On Feb. 4 a BMW carrying three men flew off the roadway and crashed airborne into the bridge overpass there, killing all three.
On Feb. 24 a Mercedes 500sl, with only the driver aboard, crashed into the bridge, obliterating the car and bursting into flames. The man was killed.
As part of the "safety initiative," the New York State Department of Transportation will set up variable message signs along the parkway to remind drivers that a "strict enforcement effort" is underway.
"While changes in driver behavior are difficult to measure, promoting safe driving habits through strict enforcement will create safer roadways," Heesch said. "Education and awareness, along with deploying a highly-visible enforcement effort, contribute to our ultimate goal of eliminating fatal accidents on our highways."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that two-thirds of all traffic-related fatalities are caused by speeding, aggressive driving and driving while intoxicated.