How to Report a Reckless Driver
Reckless driving causes thousands of deaths a year. If you see a reckless driver, help keep the roads safe by reporting them. To report the car immediately, pull over to a safe location and call the police. You will need to provide the police with a basic description of the car. This is the best option when the situation is life-threatening. If you can wait until you get home, however, you can safely report the driver online. Always make sure that you do not risk your own life while reporting another driver.
Assess if the other vehicle poses a danger to other people.You should only report very serious traffic violations. Only call the police if you believe there is a serious risk of an accident. Some signs of reckless behavior that should be reported include:
- Driving too high or below the speed limit
- Weaving between cars and lanes
- Drifting between lanes or driving between two lanes
- Ignoring traffic signals and signs
- Excessive swerving
- Road rage
- Street racing
Take note of the car’s appearance.If you can, memorize the make and model of the car. This will be helpful when describing the car to the police. If you can’t identify the make or model, pay attention to other distinctive details, such as:
- What state is the license plate from?
- What color is the car?
- How many doors are there?
- Are there any distinctive bumper stickers?
- Are the windows tinted?
- How many people appear to be in the car?
Ask the passenger to record the license plate.The passenger can write it down, take a picture of the car, or make a note on their phone. If you do not have a passenger, do not attempt to get the license plate information, as you could put yourself in danger.
Mount a camera to the dashboard of your car.While this will not help you report a previous accident, it can allow you to more easily report any future reckless driving incidents. The recording from the camera can be given to police.
- You can buy dashboard cameras online or at an electronics store.
- Some apps, like Nexar, turn your phone into a dashboard camera. You will need a dashboard mount for the phone, however. These can be bought at electronic stores, phone stores, or online.
Avoid following the car.Following the car can put you in danger. It is best to get as much information as you can from a casual glance and report it to the police. The police will handle the situation from there.
Calling the Police in the Car
Ask your passenger to report the driver.Have them make the call and report the driver. Do not try to talk on the phone while you drive, or you could put your life in danger.
Pull your car over if you do not have a passenger.Move to a safe shoulder off of the road or into a parking lot. Make sure this is a safe place to stop your car for a few minutes. Only call the police once the car is stopped and parked.
Call an emergency number if people’s lives are in danger.In the US, this number is 911. Describe the car to the police and tell them where it is headed. Give them as much information as possible about the car.
- For example, you might say, "I'd like to report a reckless driver. There's a black SUV with Virginia plates speeding down I-40 west. I'm near mile marker 95. They are swerving between lanes, and I think they may be dangerous."
Call the police’s non-emergency number if it’s not dangerous.Tell them the color and make of the car as well as what road you were driving on. This will help the police be on the lookout for this driver.
- Some states and local governments have special lines for reckless driving. For example, in Colorado, you can call *277. Look up to see if your state has a similar service.
Call the phone number on a “how’s my driving” sticker.If the vehicle has a “how’s my driving” sticker, you may see that there is both a phone number and ID number. Call the phone number, and provide the vehicle’s ID to lodge your complaint.
- You can say, "I'd like to report truck #555. They were tailgating my car and then they made a rude gesture to me as they passed my car."
- Similarly, If the reckless driver was in a company truck, car, or vehicle, you can report their bad driving to their employer. You should only do this if the driver was in a clearly marked company vehicle.
Making a Report at Home
File a report to a national database.If you were able to get the license plate number of the car, you can submit the information to a national database, such as . You can also use an app like Bad Driver.
Check the website of your city or police.Many local police departments and city transportation departments have online forms where you can report reckless drivers. If they do, fill out their online form.
- To find out if this is available in your area, you can search online for the name of your city or county with the words "report reckless driver." For example, you might type the words "Charlotte report reckless driver" or "Orange County report traffic violation."
- You may need to send an email. In this email, you might write, "I noticed a red Mustang speeding down I-95 this morning around 9:00AM. They were weaving in and out of traffic and nearly collided with a truck. I have attached a photo of their license plate. Thanks."
Inform a local DMV if someone you know is a reckless driver.If you know the identity of an unsafe driver, you can request for your local department of motor vehicles to give them a new driving exam. Some departments have online forms for this. You may need to email others. In most cases, this information can be given anonymously. On this form, you should:
- Identify who needs to be reexamined. If possible, provide their driver’s license number or their license plate number.
- Provide a reason why they should be reexamined (medical issue, alcohol problem, declining eyesight, etc.)
- State your relationship to the driver (family member, friend, court appointed sponsor, etc.)
Email the government to report a government vehicle.In your email, include as much information as you can about the car. Include its make, model, color, and description. Attach any photos or videos you have of the reckless driving. This will help the government investigate the driver.
- In the US, any license plate number beginning with G is owned by the government. You can email to report the reckless driver.
- In Australia, contact your state government. If a police car is the problem, you may want to contact the police department directly to complain.
- Canada and the UK do not have specific agencies to report government vehicles to.
- Keep in mind that some “reckless” drivers may be suffering a medical emergency. Move out of the way of the reckless driver, but do not try to stop them.
- Talking on the phone while driving can risk your own life. Do not call the police yourself unless you have safely pulled over.
- Never try to take a picture or write something down as you drive. It is better to let the reckless driver escape than to risk your own life.
Video: Reckless Driving report to police
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