Ask a Trooper: Reporting impaired drivers
Question: I recently called 911 to report a suspected drunk driver. I have never done this before, so was uncertain of proper procedure. I gave location and description of vehicle. My question is, should I have followed the car till an officer located the vehicle or considered my civic duty done? Thank you.
Answer: Not necessarily, but it helps if you do. I don’t think our dispatchers are asking people to do that, but I do know that people are sometimes coincidentally going the same direction that the suspected impaired driver is, so they stay on the line or they call back when the vehicle turns or if there is some other information to update the police on. We need everyone to be our eyes and ears out there on the roadways, so we appreciate accurate information being called in. When you call 911 to report, be ready to provide car description, license plate, location, and driver behavior.
You want to stay back and away from the suspected impaired driver’s vehicle and be safe. It always helps to know where you are when you are driving so that when you call in a driving complaint or crash or some other incident, we can go directly to the correct location. Many times we get the wrong location because callers don’t know exactly where they are.
Drunk drivers are killers, and we all have to take our own personal responsibility behind the wheel, and part of that responsibility is reporting impaired drivers and other dangerous drivers.
We all have a role to stop drunk-driving tragedies – planning for a sober ride, offering to be a sober driver, and reporting suspected drunk drivers. Thanks for asking.
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, send your questions to: Sgt. Curt S. Mowers MN State Patrol P.O. Box 644 Brainerd MN 56401. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask a Trooper” in the subject line. Questions are edited.