AAA study reveals epidemic of misconduct during coronavirus pandemic

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) – As more than 100 million Americans prepare to hit the road for the busy holiday season, a local hospital has seen a significant increase in trauma cases resulting from vehicle accidents – reflecting an unfortunate trend seen across the country.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 20,160 people died in road crashes nationwide in the first half of 2021, up more than 18% from 2020.

Additionally, the 2020 pandemic year – with far less driving due to blockages – saw a 7% increase in deaths compared to the last “normal” year of 2019.

“There has been a significant increase in misconduct during the pandemic,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr., of AAA Northeast. “The decrease in traffic during closures resulted in speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving, with many having seat belts being abandoned, which unfortunately continued despite more cars on the road. road and the busiest vacation season on the horizon, ”Sinclair added.

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Long Island data from 2011 to 2020 and preliminary data for this year shows dangerous speeding as the leading cause of fatalities, with 41 related deaths so far in 2021 in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

NYU Langone Hospital in Mineola, Long Island’s Level 1 trauma center, has suffered the brunt of some of these crashes, treating an unprecedented rise in car crash trauma injuries in recent years. month.

“We urge drivers to use caution while on vacation when the risk of motor vehicle accidents increases exponentially,” said Dr. D’Andrea Joseph, chief of trauma and acute intensive care. “We have seen a significant increase in auto crash trauma in recent months, with patients suffering from complex multisystem injuries, including traumatic brain injury and life-threatening pelvic and thoracic injuries.”

Among those patients was Randy Suero, 19, who was returning from an overnight workout at the gym with a car full of friends when their vehicle crashed into Southern State Parkway near Hempstead.

Fatigue was considered a major factor.

Suero was pulled from the wreckage by a friend of his, but suffered fractures of his face, ribs and femur, lung contusions, etc., and spent weeks in hospital.

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Now he has a message for drivers this holiday season.

“Take your time,” he said. “There is no reason to rush, because you are going to get to your destination. If you go too fast you are putting your life in danger. Not just yours, but innocent people trying to join their families and work. “


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