More than 115 people die on the nation’s roads every day.
Most people hardly give those numbers a second thought – until tragedy hits close to home, like some Rockland residents have been left shaken and on edge after three fatal crashes – two last week – in the past five weeks on a five-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway, which many residents use to go shopping at Woodbury Common, visit family upstate or vacation in the Catskills.
Nine people – five of them children – died in the crashes.
But as tragic as those accidents were, they were the exceptions. That portion of Thruway along the Rockland-Orange border had only three fatal accidents on it from 2003 through 2005. And statistically, the Thruway is one of the safest highways in the country.
According to data from the state Thruway Authority, 2004 was the fifth-safest year in the Thruway’s 50-year history, more than 281 million vehicles traveled some 11 billion miles.
“The carry-home message is, we’re doing pretty good in spite of the fact that these things happen,” said Lynne H. Irwin, a Cornell University professor who teaches highway engineering.