It can be a scary feeling to suspect a fellow driver of driving drunk, especially if their actions are reckless or impulsive. You may also know someone who chose to drive drunk and you fear for their safety.
And your fear is well founded; drunk drivers do pose a real risk to public safety, and themselves. The danger increases if a person is so intoxicated that their operation of a vehicle becomes noticeably dangerous.
Your first inclination is usually the right one; if you suspect someone to be driving drunk, you should report them immediately by calling 911. The worst that could happen is the person is found not to have driven drunk and be sent on their way. A small inconvenience could be the difference in a person or group of people making it home safely to their loved ones.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to report a drunk driver:
- Protect yourself at all times- the first precaution to take is for your own safety. Stay at a safe distance and do not attempt to pass the vehicle as you never know how a drunk driver could maneuver or if they could lose control of their vehicle unexpectedly.
- Collect information about the driver’s vehicle- you want to collect as much information as possible in order to aid the police in identifying the vehicle. Try to obtain the license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle. A physical description of the driver can be helpful, but focus on the details of the vehicle as it will greatly help police to narrow down potential suspects.
- Take down the precise location of where you saw the driver- provide the nearest cross street where you saw the driver or the nearest exit if you are driving on a highway. Always make sure to note the direction the car was headed to aid the police in locating the driver. Also, take note of how the vehicle was maneuvering (excessive speed, swerving etc.).
- Pull over and call 911- Provide the above information to the emergency operator and answer any additional questions they have to the best of your ability. Do not try and detain or follow the vehicle; allow the police to apprehend the potential suspect.
Reporting a suspected drunk driver can make a difference in keeping our roads safe. Interestingly, it is becoming easier to report drunk drivers through the use of incentives and technology. In California, a state legislator proposed a bill that would give a reward of $100 for reporting a drunk driver who was eventually convicted. Also in California, a group of students at the University of California at Riverside developed an application called DuiCam that allows you to video record a drunk driver and report it to police.
Although this idea is counterintuitive in states where it is illegal to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle, it goes to show that innovative ways to keep roads safe do exist and will continue to work to reduce drunk driving.
The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.