When should you report a drunk or distracted driver?
For many years, drunk driving has been a primary cause of accidents on our roads but with the growth of smartphones popularity, distracted driving has raised its head. Possibly, the number of times you have seen a driver texting or talking on his/her mobile phone while driving is uncountable. Also, you might have seen someone holding lipstick or eating fries in one hand and using the other to drive. The person had kids in the backseat who kept on fighting and yelling as well. The number of things that can distract a driver’s mind or eyes from the road and influence him/her to do damages is large. But how should you report a drunk or distracted driver?
Reporting a drunk or distracted driver to the proper authorities
First, you can do several things to take precautions. Before taking the first step, you have to get out of the vehicle’s danger zone. Ensure that the distance between you and the other vehicle is safe. You can achieve that by pulling ahead or slowing down to allow them to pass. Never tail the vehicle to collect information or try to stop the driver.
Now, it is time to take note of the important information. However, when doing that, you should also maintain a safe distance. Take note of the license plate number, the model and other distinctive features including those of the passengers, driver and the car. If you have passengers in your vehicle, ask them to collect the information.
If you feel that the driver is putting the lives of others at a great risk, you should call 9-1-1 immediately. Share the information you gathered about the driver, the location, and the direction of travel and remember to cite the particular behavior you witnessed – you might have observed excessive speed or swerving. Ask your passenger to make the call. If you are alone, you need to pullover to make the call.
If the incident is minor, report to the non-emergency number. Minor incidents related to behaviors that you feel they do not put the lives of others at a risk. Call the local police non emergency number. In some states, the non emergency numbers are assigned for reporting dangerous driving.
Dangers of drunk and distracted driving
Including when the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level is below .08, drinking affects the driver’s ability behind the wheel. At just .02 BAC, drivers experience decrease in their visual functions such as fast tracking of moving targets and declined ability to handle two tasks simultaneously. High BAC levels result in further skills decline, including inability to see turn signals and maintaining the lane position. Drunk drivers also respond to braking slowly.
Speaking of distracted drivers, they act more like drunk drivers. Troubling phone call or texts may cause the driver to become angry or depressed. It can also cause additional distraction. In the year 2015, drunk driving caused 10,265 deaths and 290,000 injures in the United States. On the other hand, distracted driving caused 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries. When you think about the human cost, you might start to see why you should report such cases.