On June 18, 2014, Montgomery County Police Traffic Division Director Captain Thomas Didone was honored by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) organization at their 25th Anniversary reception held on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress, federal and state leaders were recognized for their support of highway-safety legislation. Captain Didone received one of 14 Highway Safety Hero Awards presented to citizen activists who have demonstrated their dedication to advancing highway-safety initiatives.
“Captain Didone has taken his professional expertise and his own personal tragedy to spur action on laws that promote safer driving behavior,” presenters at the awards ceremony said. “He has been a resolute champion for Graduated Driver Licensing laws and we are honored to call him a colleague and present him with this Highway Safety Hero award.”
Captain Didone has been with the Montgomery County Police Department for 28 years. He has twice headed up the department’s traffic enforcement as the Director of the Special Operations Division from 2003 to 2007 and again as the Director of the later-formed Traffic Division, from 2010 to the present. He was instrumental in creating and coordinating the County’s Safe Speed Automated Traffic Enforcement program.
Captain Didone has been a leading proponent of driver and pedestrian safety through a variety of established and innovative education and enforcement initiatives. He has also used his expertise to testify on behalf of several proposals of new legislation to improve traffic safety or increase fines for related traffic offenses. He rededicated his efforts toward better driving habits for teens after his 15-year-old son Ryan was killed in a traffic collision in 2008. The car was driven by an inexperienced teen driver, and Ryan had uncharacteristically not used a backseat seat belt.
“This is a very well-deserved honor,” said Assistant Police Chief Betsy Davis. “Captain Didone has devoted a major portion of his career to improving traffic safety in Montgomery County and the entire Metropolitan area. He continues to increase the safety of drivers and pedestrians because of his leadership, dedication and creative initiatives.”
At the reception, the Advocates released a report, “Advocacy for Safe Cars, Safe Driving and Safe Roadways-25 Years of Saving Lives and Reducing Costs of Traffic Crashes”, that stated that federal and state safety laws enacted over the past 25 years have saved at least 131,900 lives and over $2 trillion in economic cost savings.