Stats show decrease in fatal crashes on Long Island in 2017

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New statistics indicate that fewer people were killed in vehicle crashes on Long Island last year.

In Suffolk, there were 94 crashes with 100 fatalities in 2017, down from 121 crashes with 139 fatalities in 2016. And in Nassau, there were 66 crashes with 71 fatalities, also down from 73 crashes with 79 deaths the previous year.

The numbers were released by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, a nonprofit partnership between the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the University at Albany.

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Experts credit a number of factors for the decline in deadly crashes.

Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron says stopping people for speeding helps. "The faster you go, if you're involved in an accident, the greater possibility of injury or death," he says.

Experts also cite the installation of red-light cameras, enhanced EMS training , traffic congestion and better technology in cars such as forward-collision warning.

Despite the decrease in deaths, police say texting and driving continues to be a challenge.

Eric Alexander is part of of Vision Long Island, a nonprofit group that calls on transportation agencies to design roadways that are safer for pedestrians and motorists. He says regardless of the numbers, more improvements need to be made to Long Island's roads.

"Maybe you're safer if you're driving a car now, but if you're biking and walking, you're still taking your life into your own hands and that has to change," Alexander says.

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