Officer disguised as homeless man catches drivers texting

A police officer went undercover as a homeless man as part of enforcement against distracted driving. Photo: NBC Washington

BETHESDA, Md. — A Maryland police officer went undercover dressed as a homeless man on the side of the road to catch people who were using their phones while driving.

Cpl. Patrick Robinson went undercover Tuesday morning in jeans, sunglasses and a sweatshirt with the hood pulled up, equipped with a police radio and a body camera. Drivers who were paying attention saw he was holding a sign that read, “I am not homeless. I am a Montgomery County police officer looking for cell phone texting violations.”

Montgomery County police Sgt. Phillip Chapin and about eight other officers issued a total of 56 tickets county-wide that day, including 31 tickets and nine warnings to people caught using their phones without hands-free devices.

Chapin says authorities are seeing more distracted-driver-related deaths as a result of people using their phones while behind the wheel.

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