Deadly pedestrian-involved crashes increase across the state in 2016

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) –   There has been a spike in the number of walkers killed on Georgia’s roads. The department of transportation is trying to make our roads safer for tourists and pedestrians. They have launched an awareness campaign to do just that.

Locally over the last week, six people have been hit by cars while trying to cross the street. The “see and been seen” initiative from GDOT addresses a growing issue statewide being the numbers of pedestrians killed on Georgia’s roads.

“You need to be alert on the roadway, don’t let things distract you when your attention needs to be on the road,” says Georgia DOT spokesperson Jill Nagel.

More than two hundred and thirty people lost their lives last year trying to walk across or along Georgia roadways.

“We’re doing what we can but once again we are just seeing these numbers increase,” Nagel adds.

An increase from the 168 deaths in 2014, and more than two hundred deaths in 2015.

“It’s really spread out jurisdiction wide,” says Metro traffic commander Anthony Gallo.

In the Savannah-Chatham area, police responded to more than 200 pedestrian involved crashes last year. They happened at all times of day, but on specific roads.

“We have several on Bay street and that’s the full linear stretch of Bay street not just in the downtown area. Abercorn street we have some pedestrian wrecks and that’s spread out not just downtown but all the way to the southside,” adds the Metro lieutenant.

Lieutenant Gallo adds that Waters Avenue and MLK Junior boulevard are also trouble areas. In almost all the cases, he says distractions were involved.

“There’s a whole multitude of stuff that can be a distraction to the driver and or pedestrians walking.”

In most cases now, that distraction is technology. That’s a part of GDOT’s message to put phones down and make yourself aware on foot or behind the wheel.

“If everyone would just take their time and go to the intersection where it is safe to cross, that would help improve pedestrian safety also,” Nagel says.

GDOT believes campaigns like “see and be seen” will have to continue until the numbers change and they see a significant decrease in pedestrian deaths.

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