JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - You've probably been driving somewhere in town before when all of a sudden a pedestrian darts out into traffic well outside of a crosswalk. After an alarming number of pedestrian deaths in Duval County last year the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says they're cracking down on the walkers, not the drivers.
"There's more traffic fatalities than there are homicides in Jacksonville, so you know just like everybody gets upset about murders and homicides, with traffic fatalities, a life is lost," says JSO public information officer Melissa Bujeda.
Bujeda says police are now trying a different approach to stemming pedestrian deaths and ticketing them instead of drivers in the hopes of reminding them that a citation costs less than your life. Just yesterday a woman was hit as she crossed the street near Blanding and 103rd.
"I heard it happen. I was right there and heard it happen and I was just like wow," says Francis Wolosco, who witnessed the crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol says there were 446 pedestrian-involved crashes in Duval County last year, many of them fatal. Last year, JSO launched the "Alert Today -- Alive Tomorrow" campaign aimed at bringing down the number of pedestrians killed in accidents with cars.
Jacksonville resident Paul Campo says he doesn't think the campaign will stop anyone from crossing outside the crosswalk.
"I really don't think a ticket is going to stop somebody who isn't worried about being killed by a high-speed vehicle."
He says he was taught at an early age to look both ways before crossing no matter what the light says, and he adds that a little common sense goes a long way when it comes to not getting killed crossing the street.
"We had a little saying when I was in the military and that was 'To stay alive, you've got to stay alert' and vice-versa."
Clay County resident Chel Morgan says she sees someone crossing in the middle of a busy road almost daily and just this morning watched a driver blow through a red light in her daughter's school zone.
"What's even worse is when you see mom with her kids crossing in an area without a crosswalk. That's not teaching them anything."
Morgan says she wishes people would just slow down and not always be in such a hurry.
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