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Old November 17 2013, 07:55 AM   #1
Flux Capacitor
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Reporting Drunk Drivers

I was on my way home from work the other day and came across someone who was clearly inebriated or otherwise altered to the point that they could not properly operate their vehicle. You'll see a bit of that in this clip I got before I turned off recording and used my phone to call 911 (which is what one is told to do when identifying a driver as being under the influence). This woman (I pulled up next to her to get a description at one point) was all over the road, several times passing over the double yellow and narrowly avoided a few head-on collisions. She couldn't maintain her speed or her lane position, nearly stopped at every traffic light, green or not and just roamed around aimlessly for miles.

After calling and reporting her, I followed for a while to see if when she got stopped...and it never happened. It got to the point where I couldn't just keep following this person and went home. What struck me as odd was how the operator didn't stay on the line with me so I could keep relaying info so that an officer could be dispatched and locate her. I was just thanked for my call and that was it. And naturally, after hanging up, the woman would make a turn down a totally different road and heading in a totally new direction. I had never called anyone in like this and was incredibly disappointed by the lack of response. I actually called a 2nd time when she had made so many changes of direction that I knew nobody would ever find her and got the same response. I gave license number, vehicle and driver description and the streets and cross streets we were on...and that was it.

Is that really how police and dispatchers track down drunk drivers? If so, I don't see the point in reporting anyone. I guess it takes an actual collision or someone getting hurt before they take things seriously.
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Old November 17 2013, 08:21 AM   #2
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

It's possible available officers were involved with something else, like a robbery or shooting or chowing down at the Waffle House.
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Old November 17 2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

Funniest (though ultimately sad) drunk walked into a bar in Boston that I was at. She was showing folks in the bar photos of her family and recounting stories, all in very incoherent fashion for an hour or so. Then around 6:30 the Boston police showed up to have a chat and take her off to hospital. Seems she just got out of her car in the back up somewhere up Congress street and just checked out of reality. The police deal with all kinds of shit every day.
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Old November 17 2013, 09:00 AM   #4
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

I once reported upstairs neighbors for making way too much drunken noise at 2 am or so. I live by myself and am not especially intimidating physically, so a direct request didn't seem like the smartest idea...anyway, IIRC it took the cops 1-2 hours to show up and deal with it.
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Old November 17 2013, 10:42 AM   #5
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

While I do think the police should have responded sooner, I don't so much fault the officers as I do the dispatching system. Both times I called I gave my info and then the call was ended. The driver took one turn and was suddenly not in the area I placed her in on the call...so what good is the call unless the dispatcher stays with you, while relaying my info to the officers? That seems like a vital part in catching someone like this. otherwise it was all an exercise in futility.
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Old November 17 2013, 10:51 AM   #6
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

I called the cops about a brawl about to happen with teens in front of my home a few years back and a car was there within 5 minutes...called before about a burglar and they were there under 10 minutes. I lived off a main road that has heavy traffic so it wasn't surprising really.
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Old November 17 2013, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

i'm guessing that if you crashed or caused an accident while following somebody at the behest of the dispatcher, that would be a legal headache for the department. It doesn't seem likely that they would use an untrained civilian to trail a suspect.
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Old November 17 2013, 11:21 AM   #8
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

I get that, but the alternative could be that they hang up, the driver makes a turn down a different road, now the cops can't find her and she hits someone head on and injures or kills them? There has to be a better way then the caller telling them where the suspect is at that given moment and just hoping they remain on that trajectory.

I wasn't at any more risk of crashing than I would be driving behind any other vehicle. I kept my distance and at times had other vehicles between the suspect and myself. If you know how to drive at all you should be able to handle following someone safely. If it's the matter of my being on the phone, I was operating it hands free as is the law in this state.
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Old November 17 2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

One question- Do you make calls like this often?
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Old November 17 2013, 12:06 PM   #10
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

Nope, this was the first time. I've never seen anyone that clearly messed up and that much of a danger to other drivers. I don't exactly understand the need for that question, especially since it was answered in my original post.

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
I had never called anyone in like this and was incredibly disappointed by the lack of response.
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Old November 17 2013, 12:20 PM   #11
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

Yeah, that's odd that no one really seemed to care. Then again, I've never called 911 on a drunk driver before, so I can't comment on whether it's really out of the ordinary.
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Old November 17 2013, 12:24 PM   #12
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

I considered looking up a non-emergency line for the city I was in at the time but I recalled seeing signs along the road stating "Report Drunk Drivers Dial 911"
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Old November 17 2013, 07:56 PM   #13
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
Nope, this was the first time. I've never seen anyone that clearly messed up and that much of a danger to other drivers. I don't exactly understand the need for that question, especially since it was answered in my original post.

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I had never called anyone in like this and was incredibly disappointed by the lack of response.
Never mind that post. I wasn't completely awake as I only had a few hours of sleep and the missus woke me up a bit too early.
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Old November 17 2013, 08:46 PM   #14
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

Depending on the time of day and the size of the city you're in, dispatch might only have one or two people available fielding calls. You don't know what else was going on at the time there when you made the calls. They might have had someone threatening suicide on line, a hostage situation in progress, anything. Perhaps make your local city councilman aware of it, so they can investigate and feel useful.
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Old November 17 2013, 09:05 PM   #15
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Re: Reporting Drunk Drivers

I've been behind folks who have had trouble holding their lanes--but they have all be on their (mobile) cell phones.
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