ATLANTA – Pedestrian fatalities are up across Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Transportation is sounding the alarm, warning those who travel on foot to use safety devices in place to protect them.
All along Buford Highway, you can see the lights and crosswalks there to help pedestrians across six busy lanes of travel.
And yet, time after time, 11Alive’s Commuter Dude witnesses pedestrians as they dash through traffic, ignoring the very signals placed there to help them.
“The traffic here is crazy,” said one man. “Without using the traffic light you can put yourself in danger.”
Commuter Dude Jerry Carnes saw several pedestrians navigate Buford Highway while in the crosswalk, but they failed to activate the flashing lights that would have stopped traffic.
And then there are the people who ignore the crosswalk altogether, sprinting across Buford Highway while risking their safety.
“If you cross in an area where there isn't a crosswalk, normally there isn't ample lighting,” says GDOT’s Natalie Dale. “So you're crossing in a dark area.”
According to GDOT, pedestrian fatalities in Georgia are up 37% over the last two years. The majority 82-percent of those deaths were at night. The overwhelming majority of people killed, 93% were not in a crosswalk.
This year's trend has GDOT placing a great deal of emphasis on the responsibility of those on foot. That includes accidental pedestrians, or the drivers who suffer a fender bender or flat tire on a Georgia interstate.
“Getting out of your car on an interstate you drastically increase your chances of being injured or killed,” says Dale. “You're in an area a pedestrian shouldn't be.”
In those situations, GDOT advises you to stay in your car, and dial 511.