Thiele, LaValle Release South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable Report

Report outlines progress made; further action needed

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle today released the South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable Final Recommendations Report, outlining projects and initiatives to make South Fork roads safer for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

The South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable, created by Assemblyman Thiele and Senator Ken LaValle, was initiated in October of 2012 in response to an increase in fatal accidents on the South Fork during the summer of 2012. Since then, the Roundtables three workgroups, Engineering, Education and Enforcement, have been meeting to discuss new plans, policies, and programs that should be instituted. Participants have included roadway engineers and safety officers, police, emergency responders, educators, and elected officials.

Since last summer, significant progress has been made in addressing the deteriorating condition of Montauk Highway, increasing penalties for distracted driving, and improving public transit ridership and service. However, more must be done including installing red light cameras, lowering speed limits, implementing multi-jurisdictional enforcement actions, implementing communication and notification plans, and initiating driving safety education programming.

The South Fork has seen its share of accidents this summer as well. A fatal head-on collision on July 25th brought the East End to a stand still when County Road 39 was closed for 9 hours following an accident involving an SUV and Hampton Jitney bus.

“It is important that everyone take traffic safety seriously,” said New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. “While out on the road, it’s not just your life you are protecting when you drive safely, but the lives of the drivers and passengers in the cars around you. And as we approach Labor Day, we have unfortunately witnessed many preventable crashes that tragically have resulted in the loss of life.”

Assemblyman Thiele stated, “While we have come a long way in just the past year, the closure of County Road 39 for nearly an entire business day highlights the need for this Roundtable to reconvene again this fall. We learn from every unfortunate incident and can only improve moving forward. I look forward to working with this dedicated and knowledgeable group of individuals again to continue on our mission to make our roads safer.”

The South Fork Highway Safety Roundtable will reconvene again this fall after Labor Day.