Crosswalk Stings to Catch Dangerous Drivers

The sting ops will begin tonight at 8 p.m. at Belmont Avenue and Orchard Street in Lakeview

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    Be on your best driving behavior tonight.

    Undercover police will be monitoring four Chicago crosswalks tonight for motorists who endanger pedestrians.

    The sting ops will begin tonight at 8 p.m. at Belmont Avenue and Orchard Street in Lakeview, according to the Chicago Police Department. For a map of the areas to be included in the sting, see this Google Map.

    The goal is to prevent crashes involving pedestrians.

    Four areas with a history of vehicle-pedestrian crashes are targeted: River North, Austin, Wrigleyville and 79th Street from about Ashland to the Dan Ryan Expressway, officials said, according to the Trib.

    To catch violators, off-duty police officers will be posing as pedestrians walking in crosswalks. On-coming drivers who don't yield as required by law will be pulled over by uniformed officers farther down the street.

    Fines run $50 to $500 for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

    The four city areas were identified in an anlaysis of nighttime vehicle-pedestrian crash data in Chicago for 2005 through 2007. The researchers, from Western Michigan University, found that the two main factors related to crashes in the Wrigleyville section of the Lakeview neighborhood were alcohol use and driver inattention.

    The after-dark crash-reduction efforts will continue through the fall, officials said.

    There were 3,000 vehicle/pedestrian collisions and 50 fatalities in the last year, police said.