Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keeping My Distance

Last summer, we were on an interstate when we were passed by what we were sure was a drunk driver.  His car was all over the road, swerving across four lanes of traffic and then back.  He ran other cars off the road. He brought traffic to a halt at times when his car would run onto the shoulder and then back across traffic.  He braked excessively and then accelerated abruptly.

Finally, we called 911 and reported the problem complete with his license plate number.  For 10 more miles we shared the road with him as his erratic driving continued.  At the end of those 10 miles, we again called, amazed that there had not yet been an accident.  The dispatcher was not certain if it would be within the jurisdiction of the local police or the state police.  Either way, to our knowledge that driver was not pulled over that night.

Today I read an article about another apparently drunk driver reported by a fellow motorist.  The drunk driver was all over the road, including several swerves into oncoming traffic.

By the time the police caught up with him, the driver was almost home and driving normally.  He was pulled over anyway and then failed several sobriety tests.

Now the case may be thrown out because the arresting officer did not see evidence of erratic driving.  He simply pulled the driver over because of an annonymous tip from another driver.  The defense asks why that tipster wasn't asked to provide identification such as an address or name. Perhaps that tip was really a get-even plot by an enemy! 

I don't know the law, but it does seem to me that if someone reports a driver, and the driver does fail sobriety tests, then ethically the right thing was done in pulling him over.  And what if the driver was, in fact, sober?  Wouldn't the sobriety tests have proved that and the driver would have been sent on his way - no harm done?

12 comments:

Living on the Spit said...

I don't care HOW they get pulled over, if someone fails a field sobriety test, then the DWI laws should be upheld. I am enraged over this. I HATE people who drink and drive. Hate them.

My Metabolic Rate is Stuck said...

I AGREE the Laws should be in effect...A DRUNK DRIVER is A DRUNK DRIVER...a DANGER to everyone else!!

Here in our community, when you call in to 911 or Sheriffs Dept, whatever, you HAVE to GIVE your NAME and ADDRESS! Maybe all States should follow this rule!

Mental P Mama said...

I think a failed sobriety test is a failed sobriety test. If you are pulled over in CT for a broken tail light, and the officer smells alcohol, gives you a test, and you fail it, you are arrested. They don't need to wait for you to run someone off the road. Gah. This is why I hold my breath every night until my children are safely back home.

Sue said...

Sometimes the law is really f#@*^ up! A failed sobriety test is a failed sobriety test. Thankfully no one was hurt!

Busy Bee Suz said...

That is rediculous. He should be punished. Our justice system is so much for the offenders and not the victims.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

This just sickens me.

mom x 2 said...

This is ridiculous! If you fail, you fail, regardless of the circumstances. Our justice system is flawed.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Iknow that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances involved, but I am absolutely against any impaired driver's being on the road. It could be my or my kiddo's life they take away. It could be any of ours, you know?
Awesome post that causes one to pause and think :)
Take good care and........

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Jeannelle said...

The laws can be so frustrating at times....always seeming tilted toward the perpetrator. You were certainly right in reporting the erratic driver, that's for sure.

addhumorandfaith said...

Caution -- I asked my husband because he's a retired cop (36 yrs), but in Indiana. He said you need "probable cause" to stop someone. So, if the officer didn't actually see the swerving, it would be up to the judge to decide if an annonymous tip constituted the required probable cause. But, I'm with you -- it seems like that ought to be enough!

Lady Christie said...

The law has never made much sense to me. I have always said the law is to easy on criminals and always fails to protect the victims.

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