BALLSTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to TRIP, a national research organization, New York traffic fatalities have surged by 23% from 2019 to 2022. Cynthia Dort, Extension Community Educator at Cornell University Cooperative Extension Saratoga County, teaches defensive driving courses. She says as it gets darker earlier outside, pedestrians need to make sure they are visible to drivers as much as possible.

“You know, if you have dark clothing on, sometimes, unfortunately, drivers are distracted. They’re looking at the sides of the road, other things they’re not thinking about, and all of a sudden, you’re in front of them,” Dort said.

Eric Connolly is the Town Supervisor for Ballston. He says the intersection where this morning’s accident occurred is one of the busiest in town, and he has noticed an increase in drivers speeding.

“I just would like to encourage everyone driving through the town of Ballston to slow down a bit and pay really close attention because there’s a lot of distracted driving happening,” he said. There’s a lot of people in a rush for some reason after COVID.”

Officials say drivers should always pay attention to the speed limits and, in case of an accident, stay and call for help.

“I just feel like we owe it to each other to take care of each other,” Cynthia Dort said. “Make sure that we stop, we stay. What can we do to help? Maybe you can help that person while you’re waiting for 911.”

She says she understands how anyone can feel scared when involved in a car accident, but it’s a traffic violation if you leave the scene of an accident that involves property damage. It becomes a criminal violation if you leave the scene of an accident where someone is hurt or has died.

“The police are there to help. They are not there to throw you in jail. They are not there to crucify you. They want to help,” she said. “And I think the more you can help, the more they can help.”

The Town Supervisor for Ballston also says that the area continues to develop, and the Town Board plans to add more safety features around the crosswalk to make pedestrians feel safer.