How To
Comment

How to report an impaired driver

To get the best message out to all motorists, PC Jonathan Beckett, CSO/Media Relations Officer, Caledon OPP Detachment sent the following information to clarify what the police would like motorist to do when they come across a suspected impaired driver.
Avatar
By

This past winter, a hockey buddy told me about an incident his brother-in-law, a Toronto Fire Captain, found himself in. He and his wife were driving home from an evening out when they were almost sideswiped by an erratically driven pick-up truck. Fearing the worst, an impaired driver, he quickly tried to recall the correct procedure for citizens to report a suspected impaired driver to the authorities.

This gentleman, being a firefighter, is quite familiar with the 911 system and how it should be used. But this time he found himself on the other end of the phone line unsure of the correct protocol for a motorist to call to report a suspected impaired driver.

He and his wife managed to get a description of the vehicle including a plate number. Since he was driving, his wife made the call to 911 on her cell phone and was connected to an OPP dispatcher. The police asked for the location and direction of the suspect and they set up a road block to apprehend the driver. This just happened to be the correct procedure.

To get the best message out to all motorists, PC Jonathan Beckett, CSO/Media Relations Officer, Caledon OPP Detachment sent the following information to clarify what the police would like motorist to do when they come across a suspected impaired driver.

Officer Beckett sent along a list developed by the OPP and the Ontario RAID Program (Report All Impaired Drivers) of behaviours to help identify what could be an impaired driver and a statement on the safe and correct way to report such a driver to the authorities.

Should you spot these mannerisms in a driver, stay at a safe distance and try to obtain a clear description of the vehicle including a plate number if possible. Do not try to stop them if you feel your safety is threatened. Call 911 and report a suspected impaired driver. If possible use “hands free” or better still, as with our Fire Captain, have a passenger do the calling.

PC Beckett also states, keep in mind the new distracted driver legislation that has an exemption to allow motorists to use their cell phones to call 911. This exemption is for emergency calls only.

In the case of a suspected impaired driver that could crash and cause injury and/or death to other motorists, that would certainly qualify as an emergency call.

I would suggest however, that simple traffic infractions or speeding drivers should not be called in using 911.

In this case, motorists should pull off the road and call us using the non-emergency number (*OPP or 1-888-310-1122). Discretion and common sense should be used.

The best scenario is for all drivers to use common sense and not drive after consuming alcohol or drugs. Failing this, friends and relatives should do what they possibly can, to prevent the drinker from getting behind the wheel before someone gets killed.

Allowing someone you know who is impaired to get behind the wheel after you have served them drinks or been drinking with them can set you up for related charges. It is also your duty as a good citizen to try to prevent this crime from happening.

ianlaw@carcontrolschool.com

10 Signs of a suspected impaired driver

∙ Driving unreasonably fast, slow or at an inconsistent speed

∙ Drifting in and out of lanes

∙ Tailgating and changing lanes frequently

∙ Making exceptionally wide turns

∙ Changing lanes or passing without sufficient clearance

∙ Overshooting or stopping well before stop signs or stoplights

∙ Disregarding signals and lights

∙ Approaching signals or leaving intersections too quickly or slowly

∙ Driving without headlights on, failing to lower high beams or leaving turn signals on

∙ Driving with windows open in cold or inclement weather

Follow Wheels.ca on
Facebook
Instagram #wheelsca

Wheels Logo
Show Comments