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Pedestrian Safety Ads Spark Controversy

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New pedestrian safety ads on the side of Metrobuses in the D.C. area. (Credit: Kevin Patrick/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

New pedestrian safety ads on the side of Metrobuses in the D.C. area. (Credit: Kevin Patrick/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A provocative new ad campaign aimed at reducing pedestrian deaths in the D.C. area is sparking controversy for being too graphic in getting its message across.

The ads, which are popping up all over the metro area and specifically on the sides of Metrobuses, show men and women with tread marks on their faces accompanied by phrases such as “Pedestrians don’t come with airbags” and “You can’t fix a pedestrian at a body shop.”

Some people have complained that the ads are graphic and disturbing, but Street Smart, the organization behind the ads, said they are designed to educate and increase awareness for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists about safe usage of roadways.

About 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured and about 90 are killed each year in the D.C. metro area, according to Street Smart. Prince George’s County had the most pedestrian fatalities in 2011 with 30, while 13 pedestrians were killed in the District and 10 were killed in Fairfax County.

Street Smart, which focuses on raising pedestrian awareness in Maryland, Virginia and the District, held its annual campaign kickoff Tuesday morning at Starburst Plaza in Northeast D.C.

WNEW’s Kevin Patrick contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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