Everyone knows that drunk driving is bad but the statistics are still alarming. Every 48 minutes someone in the United States dies because of a drunk driver and experts estimate that alcohol is a factor in nearly a third of all auto accidents.
Obviously the best way to combat drunk driving is to designate a driver and not to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking, but what if you see someone else on the road who seems impaired?
What should you do if you see a drunk driver?
Maybe you watched someone do a shot and stumble out of a bar toward their vehicle keys in hand. Or perhaps you’re already on the road and the car in front of you begins to swerve dangerously. There are many times you encounter other drivers who may be impaired and wonder exactly what your responsibility is.
When it comes to reporting drunk driving, some people think you should mind your own business. Unless you watched someone drink and then get behind the wheel, you don’t actually know if the driver is swerving because he’s drunk or because he’s extremely tired after a long day at work. Should you really call law enforcement just because of your suspicion?
Although reporting drunk drivers to law enforcement may seem like a drastic step, it is almost always the right call to make. Even if a driver isn’t drunk, if their actions on the road are enough to make other drivers concerned this is when an officer should step in and evaluate the situation. At the least a sober driver is now alerted of their dangerous driving habits and at the most, you may have helped get a drunk driver off the road and prevented an accident.
FACT CHECK: Is a DUI a misdemeanor? Depends on the state!
There are not many people who are happy about helping get someone arrested for DUI, but a first DUI offense is a wake up call for most people. As tough as it may seem, DUI laws are in place for a reason and their enforcement is critical for keeping the roads safe for everyone.
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How do you report drunk drivers?
Simple—call law enforcement! Timing is crucial because every second a drunk driver is on the road can be dangerous so if something seems off to you, it’s probably best to call it in. If you are driving, make sure to pull over to dial or have a passenger make the call for you.
When you make your report, you’ll want to communicate as many details as possible about the vehicle. What does the car look like? What is it doing that make you believe the driver is drunk? In particular, you should describe where you are and what direction the vehicle is traveling. If you want to report drunk driver anonymously, you can decline to give your name to dispatch when you are making your report.
What happens after you report a drunk driver?
After you’ve shared what you’ve seen with law enforcement, usually they will dispatch someone to the area to look for the reported vehicle. At this point, your biggest responsibility is now keeping yourself safe. Many people will want to continue to follow a driver to see if they are apprehended but this can become a dangerous situation for many reasons.
No matter what is happening, if you suspect a drunk driver is on the road with you you should take action. Make sure your seatbelt is on and you a driving defensively. Keep a generous following distance or turn off the road to let the driver safely pass you. Because most drunk driving accidents happen at night, it is always wise to use extra care at intersections.
DUI charges are serious business and the consequences of a DUI can follow someone for a lifetime. But so can the injuries and grief that result from losing someone in an accident. Every driver knows what is and isn’t safe behind the wheel and no one should feel bad for doing their part to keep our roads as safe as possible.
Have you or someone you love been injured by drunken driving?
If you were injured in an accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. We will work with you on a contingency-fee basis to gather this evidence and prove your case. You may be eligible to file a claim for medical costs, emotional distress and further damages. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if you are eligible for a claim. An experienced auto accident attorney at Morris Bart will assist you in the evaluation process. Initial consultations are FREE. We have office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at 1-800-537-8185 today.