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Orlando police conduct crosswalk crackdown

Undercover officers cross busy streets in 'Operation Best Foot Forward'

Local 6 News at Noon
Local 6 News at Noon

ORLANDO, Fla. – It was an unexpected traffic stop for many drivers in Central Florida.

"I went to turn and I see this man crossing, you know, in front of me.  I mean people should actually yield as well," said Leanna Duh, who was one of hundreds of drivers pulled over Wednesday in "Operation Best Foot Forward."

Undercover police officers crossed busy streets at a marked crosswalk, giving motorists enough time to yield.

Drivers who didn't yield were issued a warning or a ticket, costing them $164 and three points on their license.

"One of the main things we find when people are pulled over is that they're not aware that they must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks," said Katy Magruder, program manager of Best Foot Forward.

"More people die in Central Florida by crossing the street than anywhere else in the nation," she said.

Orlando police Sgt. Richard Ruth was the pedestrian "decoy" on Wednesday.

"We see a lot of people who are texting -- texting and driving," he said.

Ruth said cars got dangerously close to him several times.

"It's a little aggravating, frustrating.  You put your hands up and it's funny (that) you get a lot of frustration back, even when you're in the right," he said.

The program is working, according to organizers, who tell Local 6 that since beginning enforcement three years ago, they've seen more than 20 percent more drivers stopping for pedestrians.