Can You Report a Drunk Driver After the Fact?

can you report a drunk driver after the fact

In 2020, there were 106 fatal drunk-driving collisions in Indiana. These incidents caused 124 deaths. Driving while intoxicated is never acceptable and is extremely dangerous to both the impaired driver and those on the road around them.

 If you notice a vehicle driving erratically on the street, should you notify the police? If you suspect the driver is intoxicated, it’s best to report the incident to the police to keep everyone on the road, including the driver in question, safe. 

It’s important to include as many details as possible to the authorities when reporting the drunk driver, since the more information the police have, the better chance they have of apprehending the driver. 

Not sure if a driver is under the influence? Here are the signs. They are not a guarantee, but regardless of the cause, these behaviors on the road are dangerous and should be reported to the police. 

Signs of driving under the influence:

  • Swerving or slowing below the speed limit
  • Erratic braking and acceleration
  • Sudden, abrupt turns
  • Driving down the center of a road, straddling lanes
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Stopping inappropriately in traffic
  • Failure to respond to traffic signals

How to Report Drunk Driving

Call 911 and give the operator as complete a description of the situation as possible. Try to ascertain: 

  • License plate number
  • Make, model, and color of the car
  • Location of the vehicle, including street names or intersections
  • The direction it’s traveling
  • Any other descriptors that could help identify the vehicle, such as rust, visible damage such as a dented bumper, or other identifying details
  • A description of the person driving

If you’re not driving, take a picture of the vehicle and the license plate number, or enlist anyone else in the car with you to do so. Be prepared to describe the reasons you suspect the driver is drunk, including any unsafe behaviors. 

Again, make sure you are a safe distance away from the vehicle before making the call so you don’t get into an accident yourself. If the car is in front of you, change lanes and let them drive far ahead of you. If the car is behind you, change lanes and let them pass you. You should be behind them so you can react to their movements.

Try not to interact with the drunk driver, even make eye contact, and certainly don’t call out things or make gestures to them, since they are already behaving erratically and you could endanger yourself or others by doing this. Try your best to stay behind the drunk driver but in another lane of traffic. Maintain a safe following distance and don’t drive alongside the drunk driver. 

What Happens When You Report a Drunk Driver?

When you report a driver you suspect has been drinking, the police will take the information you provide and attempt to make a traffic stop. Your report is enough probable cause to pull over the vehicle even if they do not witness suspicious behavior themselves. After stopping the vehicle, the police will likely perform a field sobriety test to determine if the driver is under the influence. Depending on the results of this test, the driver could be arrested and their car could be impounded.

Can You Report a Drunk Driver After the Fact?

For your own safety and the safety of those around you, you may wonder how to report a drunk driver anonymously. It is possible to call the police and give an anonymous tip regarding a person you suspect is driving under the influence. Even if the accused driver arrives at their home without incident, your witness statement could be used to file DUI charges against them after the fact.

Contact Poynter and Bucheri for DUI Accident Claims 

Were you or a loved one injured in a DUI incident? You may be entitled to compensation, and Poynter & Bucheri’s DUI accident attorneys can help you get it. We have years of experience working with victims of DUI accidents, and we’re ready to take on your case to hold the negligent party financially responsible for your injuries. Call us today at 1-800-265-9881, or you schedule a free case review online here