While drinking and driving is illegal, no law requires another person to report a driver that has been drinking. Still, while many states have their own plans and initiatives to cut down on drunk driving, it can be beneficial when other drivers call in to report these instances, as it can help prevent and reduce the number of drunk driving car accidents in Indiana.
Drinking and driving statistics from the NHTSA show that around 32 people die every day in drunk driving accidents, which equates to around one person every 45 minutes. In 2020 alone, over 11,000 people died as a result of drunk driving.
Indiana enforces a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute has taken significant steps to become a leader in drunk driving prevention by operating sobriety checkpoints and concentrated patrols that target impaired drivers. The CJI also participates in national mobilizations like “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
However, despite the state’s best efforts, drunk driving is still often a major problem. As such, it’s helpful when everyday citizens can pitch in and do their part by reporting drunk drivers when they see them on the roads.
The first step in reporting a drunk driver is learning how to spot the signs of drinking and driving, which can include:
- Driving below the speed limit
- Erratic braking
- Erratic acceleration
- Rolling through red lights or stop signs
- Sudden or abrupt turns
- Driving in the wrong lane or on the wrong side of the road
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to pay attention to other drivers or traffic signals
If you see or suspect a drunk driver, the first thing you should do is keep your distance. Your wellbeing should always be your number one priority, and if you get too close to the drunk driver, you could end up in an accident with them. Do not try to tailgate the vehicle, do not try to pass them or drive alongside them to get their attention, and do not try to get them to pull over—leave that to the police.
Next, before you call in to report a driver for drinking and driving, you should try to get as much information about the driver and their vehicle as possible without putting yourself in danger. This includes getting their license plate number, the make, model, and color of their vehicle, and the location where you spotted them.
If you are not driving yourself and are able to do so, you can also take pictures of the driver and their vehicle as well as any other details that might help, such as street signs or anything else nearby. Once you have gathered as much information as possible about the driver and their vehicle, you should call 9-1-1 to report them to the police as soon as possible. If you are driving, pull over to make the call, so you do not endanger yourself.
You can also go to the link here to report a traffic complaint on the Indy.gov website.
If you end up involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you should get to safety and call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are injured or if anyone else was injured in the accident, make sure you ask them to send emergency medical responders.
If possible, you should avoid confronting the drunk driver and remain in your vehicle, or get out of your vehicle and move somewhere safe nearby that is out of the way of oncoming traffic. Confronting the drunk driver might only make matters worse, as they may become aggressive due to their intoxication.
You should wait for the police to arrive and wait for emergency medical attention as well if you are injured. If you do not need immediate medical attention, you should still get checked out by a doctor after the accident has been dealt with just to make sure you don’t have any unknown or internal injuries.
Once your injuries are dealt with, and the police have handled the accident, you should contact an attorney to handle your case. Drunk driving accident cases can be difficult to handle on your own, especially if you or a loved one was severely injured in the accident. An attorney can handle the case for you while you take care of yourself and can ensure you are awarded the full and fair settlement you deserve for all that you have suffered.
At Poynter & Bucheri, we have years of experience helping the people of Indianapolis file their claims and win high-value settlements. We are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and ensuring they get the full compensation they deserve.
Don’t hesitate — an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.