If You See Somebody Gulping Liquor Behind the Wheel, What Do You Do?

In Illinois, anyway?

Tonight, I was heading inbound in a traffic jam, and not moving. Heading the other way, also not moving, and right next to me, this guy was taking big swigs out of what looked like a Johnny Walker bottle.

What’s the correct course of action? Is it proper to call 911? I’m pretty damned sure the guy was legally impaired for driving, or at least would be within 5 minutes if magically the swigs I saw were the first ones.

Anyway, Illinois has an open container law, right?

I guess my basic question is, what is may proper response? 911? I didn’t know the non-emergency number for the suburb I was in.

IL? Dunno. In CA, public service billboards advise us to call 911.

Here in New Mexico there is a special number (#394) just for this*. If your state doesn’t have this, then 911 would be the number to call.

I’ve actually used this before, and I saw the guy get pulled over by the cops.

  • this number is set up for DWI only calls, but I’m not sure how they expect lay persons to abide by this. I’m not a doctor, a cop, or a bartender. I’m not qualified to know when someone is drunk. All I can figure out is when someone is driving dangerously, so I use the number to report dangerous drivers.

Over the years I have been involved in dozens of DWI arrests and have been to court at least 6 times as a witness. Overall I have found you should always call police when you see anything out of the ordinary, just don’t be too surprised if they cannot respond.

You would be amazed to discover how few officers are actually on duty at any given time in an area. Here in Maryland most DWI’s I spot are on the interstates (which is due to the fact I drive a lot on them and key indicators of an impaired driver are often easier to spot on the open road). In this state most counties are served by one State Police Barracks. On any given shift there are often less than a dozen officers covering the entire county on patrol, so getting one to respond to your call is a crap shoot. It helps if you can stay on the line and call all the turns. A benefit to working with a barracks is you are often speaking directly to the dispatcher so communication flows easily to the trooper coming to you.

In a city or other local department many officers are already tied up on calls, or if you are able to spark an interest in the department, you are often on the line with a call taker who is transferring information to a dispatcher to the police in the field. That causes delay and confusion.

One time on the way home from work in Montgomery County, MD I was nearly sideswiped by a middle aged man in a convertible. I followed him and got on the phone to police. After a mile We got to a red light where the drunk stopped, then fell asleep. I stayed on the phone for over 5 minutes, 12 green - yellow - red cycles, until police arrived. The officer carefully maneuvered his cruiser to the offender’s front bumper (so when he awoke he wouldn’t accidently hit the gas and get away) then approached the driver, who was finally brought from his slumber.

I work in news so I have the advantage of being able to listen to responding police and correct misinformation quickly. My work truck also has dashcams. Here is a story about a particularly bad DWI I ran into last year. That incident, from initial call to arrest, took more than a half hour.

Short answer - hell yes call. 911 if on local roads. Most state police use #77 as a direct mobile line on interstates.

Hm. 2gigch1, FWIW my old man used to be the director of public works and transportation for Montgomery County from 2000-2004.

We have little street signs along the roads here in Indiana that read “Report Impaired Drivers: Call nine-eleven.” We also have billboards that advise the same for suspicions of meth-related activity.

I guess call. It’s illegal here to use a cell phone while driving, and studies show that cell phone use can be just as much an impediment to safe driving as some alcohol use.

How about trying to get the guy to have a wreck? A deserted country road at night, you know it Ike the back of your hand. Just force him off the road. He might kill a horse or some crap, but maybe she can get croaked too. Win-win.

If a joke, this is unfunny. If serious, this is evil and stupid.

To the OP: Absolutely call 911. That number is for emergency situations; an impaired driver certainly qualifies. DWIs kill people all the time.

Since I don’t have a cell phone, I’d hit my OnStar button in my car and have them call 911 on their sorry ass. And then follow them until I saw the cops take over from there.

Sure I’m serious. Why not? It might be dangerous and reckless, but in the right circumstance it’s not an outrageous suggestion. Who cares, anyway, what happens to this fucker driving drunk?

Besides, who really wants to talk to the cops, even over the phone? Not me. What if a subconscious pig-snort comes out to the dispatcher and I am the one who gets the shaft from some pig? They certainly don’t need my name or where I am, either.

I usually live and let live, but I think I would phone the police on the non-emergency number just to let them know and to soothe my mind.

Why not? Um, because regardless of the victim, vehicular homicide is wrong. And rather illegal. And you could end up killing an innocent person since you have no idea how a drunk person will react to being forced off the road, among other things. If this is how you honestly live your life, you’re worse than the drunk driver.

Ok, fine. I live in a city and therefore don’t drive, so it’s really not my problem, but if you want to niggle over a bunch of what ifs, then go ahead. nb I did say in the right circumstance my plan isn’t a big deal. If the wrong circumstance, then whip it out and start jamming with the fuzz, if it makes you happy.

Man, you are just joking. Hahaa! You almost got me.

Because, what if those were the only two sips that driver took from the bottle, and the only sips he intended to take. (I know the OP said big gulps, but that is really hard to judge when someone is drinking from a bottle in the car next to you). Then you would have killed an innocent person if you forced them off the road into a fatal accident. And I know you would never do that, you ol’ kidder you.

And yes, I said innocent. Driving with an open container isn’t a crime that justifies homicide. And two sips of alcohol is not drunk driving.

[Moderator Warning]

Jaledin, this is an official warning for trolling and being a jerk. Since you have a number of previous warnings for these kinds of posts, your posting privileges will be under discussion.

General Questions Moderator

Ok. I’m actually not trolling, though. I really didn’t consider my proposal outrageous. I am sorry some people did, but I can’t change their points of view – just offer my own.

This thread has been hijacked enough, though, IMHO.

Then there is something very seriously wrong with the way you see the world.

PS. I am closing this thread temporarily pending moderator discussions.

Re-opened and moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I agree. Call 911 and report the vehicle type, color, license number and description of the driver and passengers. Let then know the location and approximate speed of the vehicle.