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.)