ATLANTA — There has been a dramatic rise in the number of people killed along Georgia interstates while on foot.
After more than 1,500 pedestrian deaths on Georgia interstates in five years, the Georgia Department of Transportation is pleading with motorists to stay inside their cars.
“The second you leave the protection of your vehicle you dramatically increase your chance of extreme injury or death,” GDOT’s Natalie Dale said.
The most recent death was a man killed while walking along I-285 in Sandy Springs. A 44-year-old man was also recently hit by a truck on I-75. Marietta police said he was on foot trying to cross the interstate.
In 2019, 200 people died while on foot on Georgia interstates. The cases began to climb to 301 deaths in 2020, then 350 deaths last year.
Jason Josey, a GDOT HERO who assists stranded motorists, said he has seen motorists leave their cars after a wreck without bothering to move over to an emergency lane.
“People will have accidents in the center lane of the interstate,” he said. “They’ll then get out of the vehicle to survey the damage, all the while traffic is rolling by them.”
Dale says whether it’s a wreck or flat tire, motorists should make their way to an emergency lane then remain in their vehicle.
“You are going to lose if you do not have the protection of a vehicle, if it is just your body being hit by a vehicle at the high speeds that cars go on our interstates,” said Dale.
Depending on the situation, a stranded motorist can remain in their car and call 911 for law enforcement, or 511 for a HERO.