July 21, 2013

Danger in the dark

State Police say safety is the responsibility of both drivers, pedestrians

PLATTSBURGH — I haven’t driven the same way since December.

That month, I took part in a practical experiment with New York State Police at Troop B’s Ray Brook barracks after the Press-Republican requested they create a test to illustrate the danger posed when pedestrians dress in dark-colored garb after dusk or before sunrise.

Since then, I’ve turned into a cautious driver, always scanning the roads at night, looking for someone that may not be looking for me.

”Remember that preventing collisions for motor vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists is not just the responsibility of the person operating the motor vehicle,” said State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. John Coryea.

”It’s also the responsibility of the pedestrian or the bicyclist.”


A few days before the nighttime visibility testing, I was driving in the dark at about 10 p.m. on Route 3 in the Town of Plattsburgh when I saw two young men who ran out into traffic in an attempt to cross the street near the Comfort Inn.

I felt helpless as I watched them, praying that the many cars driving through the green light would notice them.

Every driver did, but it is possible that things could have gone the other way.

In 2012, 32 people were killed in motor-vehicles crashes in Troop B’s area, Coryea said. Three of those who died were pedestrians, and one was a bicyclist.

And last year, 27 accidents between motor vehicles and bicyclists or pedestrians resulted in 27 injuries.


So far this year, State Police have responded to 13 motor-vehicle accidents involving pedestrians, including a fatal crash on May 20 that killed 27-year-old Ashley Poissant, who was jogging with friends on Perry Mills Road in Champlain at dusk.

The driver of that vehicle, Ronald Trombly, 85, of Mooers, was charged June 27 with manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter after a blood sample tested at the New York State Police Forensic Investigative Center in Albany showed he had a .12 percent blood-alcohol content at the time of the accident.

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