Traffic safety: a holistic approach


From my experience as a lawyer and as a county legislator since 2022, traffic safety is a topic high on my list of priorities. Rarely a day goes by when we don’t read, see or hear reports of accidents on our roadways, too often with tragic results. For virtually every Long Islander, traffic is a part of our everyday lives. Congestion on our roadways is ever present, and because of that, the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians should be the first priority for every driver and everyone on foot trying to cross a street.

Further proof to support that premise can be found in eye-opening statistics from the state Department of Motor Vehicles that show more than 2 million registered vehicles on Long Island alone. That equates to just over two vehicles per household in the Nassau-Suffolk region.

Today’s vehicles have changed dramatically in recent years. While government regulations have improved automobile safety (for example, by requiring seat belts, airbags, collapsible steering columns, etc.), the increased level of performance of these vehicles has made many drivers more daring as they navigate our heavily trafficked roads, to the detriment of other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and personal property.

So what can be done to improve traffic safety? For starters, we must recognize that it is best achieved through a collaborative effort between local government and drivers. On Long Island, our road system is extremely complex. There are thousands of miles of state, county, town, city and village roads in Nassau County that are maintained by a variety of public works entities. The county is fortunate to have an excellent Department of Public Works that does a great job of maintaining our road system. The department also works closely with the other public works operations responsible for maintaining roads in their respective jurisdictions.

Over the past two years, I have actively engaged the community, the county DPW, and the Nassau County Police Department for mitigation in and around my district that has helped improve traffic safety. Included in these efforts are the following:

The installation of a traffic signal on Woodfield Road, at Linden and Lindberg Streets. This area of Woodfield Road has been the scene of numerous accidents over the past few years that have resulted in fatalities, including a senior citizen and two children.

The placement of advanced warning lights for a major crosswalk on Hempstead Avenue at Lester Court.

Frequent placement of speed-monitoring trailers at various locations in the 8th Legislative District. This was achieved with the help of the NCPD.
Increased speed limit signage on Woodfield Road. This was accomplished jointly with the Town of Hempstead.

Education can also improve traffic safety. Educating high school teens who will soon be driving on our roads can be accomplished by emphasizing traffic safety in driver education classes, and even among all juniors and seniors, regardless of enrollment in driver ed classes. Parents can also teach their children the importance of traffic safety while they are learning to drive, and even after they earn their licenses. Also, I recommend taking a defensive driving class. It will provide a discount on insurance premiums — and remind those who take it that a car can quickly turn into a weapon if it is mishandled.

For those who are interested, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a great resource to tap into. There’s an entire area on the NHTSA website that offers traffic safety tips and a variety of other vehicle safety topics in an easy-to-navigate format. Go to

As your legislator, I will continue to advocate for traffic safety and welcome any thoughts Herald readers might have on this subject. I can be reached at (516) 571-6208, or by email at I am also available to speak to your group or school about traffic safety.

John Giuffré represents Nassau County’s 8th Legislative District.