By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Erratic driving is leading to more accidents in New York and it appears the coronavirus pandemic is to blame.

Crashes continued to pile up in 2020, despite the fact that people weren’t driving as much, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported Monday.

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A new study found Suffolk County had more deadly crashes than anywhere else in the state last year.

“People are driving drunk, they’re driving high, they’re speeding. They’re not wearing their seatbelts,” said AAA Northeast’s Robert Sinclair Jr.

Sinclair Jr. said people ditched mass transit and clogged the roadways.

“I think it’s a reflection of the fact that we’re seeing so much more driving on Long Island as a result of COVID,” he said.

In Suffolk County, 113 people died in traffic accidents in 2020, the most anywhere in the state, according to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research out of Albany.

Drivers have seen the changes firsthand.

“People are cutting each other off, road rage. It’s not pleasant driving,” said Ed Reda from Bayside. “The amount of speed now is uncontrollable.”

“The turn on red is very dangerous. People have no patience if you stop because you realize it’s going to turn very shortly. They beep behind you,” said Judy Campbell from Patchogue.

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Drivers said they’ve noticed disregard for the rules. Suffolk County police have taken notice as well.

“Every one of those fatal motor vehicle accidents is not just a number on a piece of paper. It’s an individual that has died in our county and that’s not lost on us,” said Acting Police Commissioner Stewart Cameron.

Cameron said they’ve stepped up enforcement to drive down things like speeding. They’ve also invested resources to find other solutions that aren’t as complex.

“It could be as simple as a crosswalk that needs to be repainted or a street light that’s out,” he said.

Even though things are starting to get back to normal, somewhat, there are trends that continue to be worrisome.

“We’re seeing more and more of our fatal and serious motor vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians and bicyclists. So that’s a great concern for us now,” said Cameron.

Getting the numbers down is not impossible.

“If we could make people stop drinking and driving, wear their seatbelts and slow down, we could cut fatalities by 50 or 60%,” Sinclair said.

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CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team