More car accidents, pedestrian fatalities imminent with Daylight Saving Time; police urge caution

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Police are warning drivers and pedestrians to pay attention to the roads as we turn the clocks back Sunday because this time of year always results in a spike in pedestrian and vehicle crashes and those numbers are already higher since the pandemic.

"The roads are so dangerous these days," said Robert Sinclair, with AAA. "There's a general sort of disregard for traffic laws these days by a lot of drivers."

Eyewitness News found since October 1, 11 pedestrians have been struck and killed on Long Island, the majority of them in Suffolk. In Bay Shore and North Bay Shore, two people were killed in a four-hour period.

Sinclair said November is considered the deadliest time of year for pedestrians because of Daylight Saving Time. In New York City, the number of accidents involving pedestrians typically doubles from two per day to four per day.

Suffolk County Police said they are going to be cracking down on drivers this month. Seven officers are being added to the department's traffic enforcement unit and will be pulling over drivers for speeding, reckless driving and distracted driving.
"Motorists should expect to see large, this large number of police officers doing traffic enforcement on our major roadways," said Suffolk Police Chief Stuart Cameron.

Cameron urged drivers to slow down during this daylight transition period.



"People that normally commute home from work during the daylight suddenly are plunged into doing it in darkness," he said. "It does take an adjustment period so we do see an uptick in accidents."

Cameron said the department is also launching a pilot program using a traffic data dashboard to pinpoint where traffic enforcement should be emphasized moving forward.

Suffolk Police Officer Timothy Thrane remains in a medically induced coma at Stony Brook University Hospital after being involved in a collision caused by an alleged drunk driver.

Thrane - a father of three - was standing outside his patrol vehicle in Yaphank early Wednesday morning directing traffic at an accident site when police said William Petersohn crashed into a car, which crashed into another car, striking Thrane. He suffered a serious brain injury.

Eyewitness News spoke with Thrane's colleague Officer CJ Hutter outside the hospital.

"We all think it's disgraceful that the person that caused this all to happen has been released from law enforcement custody under cashless bail," he said. "Meanwhile, our police officer is still up there fighting for his life."

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