Hotlines To Report Drunk Drivers
State officials have made a call to all citizens to report any potential drunk drivers to local authorities by calling 911 or their local jurisdiction. Under no circumstance are citizens encouraged to attempt to follow the driver or interfere with the incident.
Leaving a tip at an emergency hotline can lead to a faster response time by officials. Officers will attempt to locate the offender through the reported:
- Direction headed.
- Make and model of the vehicle.
- License plate number.
- Description of the driver.
Depending on the individual report given by the caller, the dispatcher will send out or redirect an officer to the scene of the reported DUI. It then becomes a matter of time and luck. The call to a scene is fully dependent on the accuracy presented by the caller.
Due to the high number of inaccurate or purposely misleading reported DUIs, some have begun to question the legality of DUI citizen reports. In a legal system that centers on a concept that all are innocent until proven guilty, it seems counterintuitive that a driver be pulled over upon mere suspicion from an unknown or anonymous citizen’s report.
For this reason, some states have now implemented specific criteria required for the legal questioning of a possible DUI offender on the otherwise sole basis of a citizen’s report. These criteria generally include:
- The accuracy of the citizen’s report — the reported location, direction headed, make and model of the vehicle, license plate number, and description of the driver must be somewhat similar to the description left with the hotline.
- Harmful or illegal behavior in the description — caller’s description involves actions that are sure to cause imminent harm or danger.
- Informant’s observations suggest driving under the influence — must be sufficient reasoning for the suspected DUI. The description of swerving, misconduct, driving violations, etc. must match what happened, or what could have believingly occurred, and must be typical of drunk driving behavior.
Although reported DUIs often lead to the successful conviction of drunk drivers, many times, the officers do not find the car and driver in time. In some cases, when a license plate is known, a letter of warning about the report may be sent to the address of the vehicle owner.
In addition to reporting DUIs to 911 or the local authorities, several hotlines and 24-hour emergency lines and counseling are available for DUI-related calls. Some organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), have 24-hour hotlines open to lend support to victims of drunk driving and their friends and family. MADD’s number–1-877-MADD-HELP–can be contacted for emotional support, guidance, and referrals.
Another similar 24-hour hotline, the National Council on Alcohol–1-800-NCA-CALL–can give advice on reporting DUIs as well.