Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
Garland is spending money on new crosswalk signs in hopes of making crosswalks around schools aimed at keeping pedestrians safe.
The City of Garland is spending money to make streets safer. The change is at crosswalks, especially around schools.
School crossing guard Julie Klover sees the dangers of distracted drivers every day.
"They're looking down, they're texting, they're on their phones, not paying attention, they're not looking left of right or even up," said Klover. "Before the signs went up, people took a lot longer to stop, they'd come up right on the crosswalk which would endanger myself and the children."
Drivers paying very little attention at school crosswalks around Garland. Now, the city traffic department has put up Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at 21 crosswalks and school crossings, warning drivers to pay attention to pedestrians.
When the yellow lights start flashing, it means cars must stop.
"When a pedestrian pushes the lights and goes into the intersection, with those lights flashing, it's a whole lot easier for the motorists to realize, there's somebody in that intersection," said Dorothy White with the City of Garland.
Garland High School students who walk to school every day say drivers are more aware, but there's still work to do.
"I have seen some improvements because a lot of kids had been getting hit," said Duglas Torres. "Now the drivers are looking because of the light postings."
Traffic engineers have also used white triangles to mark the spot on the ground where motorists are expected to stop so pedestrians can cross safely.
The Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons come with a cost, each one has a price tag ranging from $8,000 to $20,000.
"If these lights even save one life, they are well worth the money that we've spent on them," Klover.
City traffic planners say studies found drivers now yield to pedestrians by more than 80 percent with the flashing beacons in place.