Reporting Drunk Drivers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Flux Capacitor, Nov 17, 2013.

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  1. Flux Capacitor

    Flux Capacitor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It's possible available officers were involved with something else, like a robbery or shooting or chowing down at the Waffle House.
     
  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. Flux Capacitor

    Flux Capacitor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. Taylirious

    Taylirious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. Flux Capacitor

    Flux Capacitor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One question- Do you make calls like this often?
     
  10. Flux Capacitor

    Flux Capacitor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.

     
  11. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    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.
     
  12. Flux Capacitor

    Flux Capacitor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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"
     
  13. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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. :lol:
     
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In that video, I was to gonna suggest the possibility that the driver was one of those nervous drivers esecially at nighttime, when the driver went off the lane, into the breakdown lane when the 18-wheeler passed by. But the driver stayed there.

    I'm not sure a cell phone user (except for the uber-moronic ones) or nervous drivers would do this. I'd go with DOI individual.
     
  17. Timby

    Timby LIKE LIGHTNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING Administrator

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    For one, The State of California itself says you shouldn't follow people suspected of drunk driving.

    Pingfah is most likely dead on the money, and I would suspect that's the reason both calls were ended: If you were to get into an accident, or if the allegedly impaired driver were to get in one (and then claim they were worried you were following them), then it suddenly becomes a headache. What if it went to trial and the defense tried to argue you were acting as an agent of the police? What if you tried to sue the department because you were trying to follow an impaired driver and just "help out," and then ran into a tree? Or any number of other things that could have happened?

    I'm not saying this is even remotely on the same level of severity, but this is the same reason George Zimmerman was told by the 911 dispatcher to remain in his vehicle. It's not your job to follow a driver you think is impaired and report their up-to-date movements to dispatch. And, truth be told, although you're encouraged to report drunk drivers, the reason is that so if there happens to be a unit in the near vicinity, they can be sent to that location, but otherwise, it's usually that a BOLO is sent out to any stationed units in the area, particularly speed trap units on the highways.
     
  18. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    If I reported every suspected drunk driver in my area, I would never be able to put down my phone.
     
  19. mari

    mari Captain Captain

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    We reported one back in June, on 95 South in Rhode Island (on our way home from the airport at 1am). Another driver had also reported, so I was only on the line with the state police very briefly. Several miles later, we saw the officer pull the drunk over (in a construction zone! double fines!) and at that point felt safe passing. (My husband was driving, I was the one calling.) I don't know that we'd have followed the person on city streets. I already know enough people injured and killed by drunk drivers, I don't need us to be collateral to another one.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Ohio Interstate highways have yellow signs that say to call #677 to report drunk drivers. From http://statepatrol.ohio.gov/motorist.stm:

    I've never had to do it, but if I saw something dangerous, I would.
     
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