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Plainclothes Police to Conduct 'Pedestrian Sting' Series

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

A cluster of 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. 

Instead, 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.) 

AMSV May 08, 2013 at 05:12 PM
In some cases, the county should have thought about where they were putting the crosswalks. It can be confusing to decide if someone is waiting for the bus or stepping out into traffic and a couple of feet difference could help. So if you are a pedestrian waiting to cross by a bus stop, please make it obvious you are not waiting for the bus. Sometimes it's not that they aren't stopping for you, but that you aren't obviously trying to cross so they don't think there's a need.
Corbetto May 08, 2013 at 08:31 PM
It's amazing to me the number of drivers who refuse to stop for pedestrians at the very VERY clearly marked walkway on Reedie between Grandview and Georgia Avenue. It's in the middle of the block, between the Mid-county building and Parking Lot 13, marked on both sides AND in the median... and yet... at least twice a week on my walk home from the metro, careless drivers incur the wrath of my middle finger. I'm classy that way.
Kent Berthold May 09, 2013 at 10:04 AM
All pedestrian crosswalks should have a stop light to protect the pedestrians. Unfortunately, there are crosswalks with no stop light and the speed limit is 40 miles per hour and there are three lanes of traffic. How can a driver be watching where he going and avoid being hit by other vehicles and at the same time be looking for pedestrians and cross walks that you may not even be aware that they exist, all at the same time. Shame on Montgomery County for not putting traffic lights at all cross walks to protect our citizens and allow responsible drivers the proper opportunity to stop for them.
Corbetto May 09, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Hell will freeze over the day you finally have something positive to say.
Liz S May 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Just hours after this article was written, I witnessed a pedestrian being hit by a car while he crossed at a crossing signal (University and Colesville)... I think the MoCo police have the right idea with this initiative.

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