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Plainclothes Police to Conduct 'Pedestrian Sting' in Crosswalks

Montgomery County police say drivers aren't yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks.

Some Montgomery County police officers will give their traditional blue uniforms a rest this month, donning plainclothes to conduct a series of "pedestrian stings" at high-traffic intersections and ticket drivers who refuse to yield, said Capt. Thomas Didone, director of the traffic division. 

This year, police have received complaints that drivers aren't properly yielding to pedestrians at certain intersections. Moreover, investigators are finding that more pedestrian incidents have been the driver's fault. 

Officers would typically attempt to enforce that kind of law by driving around a high-traffic area and looking for drivers not following the rules, said Didone. That's not very efficient, he said. 

Now, police will pose as everyday pedestrians, while uniformed officers hover nearby, and attempt to walk through marked crosswalks wearing high-visibility clothes. If a driver is spotted disobeying the law, the officers in waiting will issue the appropriate tickets, Didone explained. 

Didone's division has identified about 10 intersections that will be the focus of the stings, but, for obvious reasons, he isn't anxious to reveal exactly where. The crosswalks are in the general areas of Aspen Hill, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton, according to Didone. 

"The point is, every time you see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, you need to slow and yield to that pedestrian," Didone said. 

Six pedestrians and one bicyclist have died this year after being hit by vehicles, Montgomery County Patch websites have reported. A total of 18 incidents have been reported since January 2013. 

(See a map, above, of where and when the pedestrian and bicyclist incidents occurred.) 

MocoLoco May 08, 2013 at 12:19 PM
This is fair. BUT, how about also "stinging" pedestrians who cross against the light? So often, drivers get frustrated that only a few cars can turn at a light because pedestrians walk even though turning traffic has a green right arrow. Or, they leave the curb to cross when the pedestrian light has only 2-3 seconds left. I think drivers would be more understanding of pedestrians if it were reciprocal. So, while the plainclothes officers are at these crosswalks, please consider ticketing, or at least warning, pedestrians who don't follow rules.
Joe Galvagna May 09, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Right on MocoLoco. There is fault on both sides especially with none English speaking citizens. They just ignore the law or cannot read the law.

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