by: Tony Thomas Updated:
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Sandy Springs police say north side commuters are developing a very bad and dangerous habit.
Authorities said drivers, especially during the rush hour, are cutting through the restricted areas between Ga. 400 northbound lanes and on ramps. The areas are officially called gores.
Police said the illegal practice is very common, but dangerous, and it is causing accidents and road rage incidents.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Tony Thomas went out with Sgt. R.D. Nable Monday night as police began enforcement in the area.
Nable could hardly keep up with pulling over all the drivers driving through the gore area.
"You know why I pulled you out of line?” Nable asked one driver.
"I guess I got into the gore too late?" the driver replied.
"Right on the nose -- or you got in too early. Oh, hold on a second," Nable countered as he rushed off to stop another motorist who was trying to zip by.
Thomas reports driver after driver either came up Ga. 400 near Interstate 285 or came off the Glenridge connector ramp and tried to zip around stalled traffic . Thomas and his photographer Dana Mosley stood on an overpass before the police arrived and counted 40 drivers within 10 minutes passing through the gore.
Nable said Monday's afternoon rush was typical.
"It's indicative of the problem,” Nable said.
Police said they receive complaints on a regular basis and plan on increasing their enforcement in coming days.
Not all drivers see the issue as a big safety concern.
"It can be an obstruction, true. But dangerous? If you're a dangerous driver and unsafe, I can understand that perspective, but if you are legitimately a good driver it's all good." said driver Eric Johnson who had just been given a verbal warning by the police.
Police hint they will give warnings in the near term, but maybe not for that long.
Police said during the morning rush hour, another trouble spot is I-285 eastbound at Glenridge, where motorists ride the emergency lane trying to cut by traffic and get to the exit ramp. Police plan on extra patrols there as well.