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What to Do When You Spot a Drunk Driver


Drunk drivers are considered one of the common causes of serious and fatal accidents in Texas. Despite the stiff penalties associated with DUI, many people still decide to drink and drive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 13,138 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in Texas from 2003 to 2012. In 2016, 987 lost their lives to collisions involving drunk drivers, including 638 drunk drivers, 149 individuals in vehicles not driven by drunk drivers, 143 passengers in vehicles driven by drunk motorists, 56 pedestrians and bicyclists, and one other.

Recognizing Drunk Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a list of visual cues of DUI/DWI that is separated into four major categories of driving behavior. Law enforcement officials believe that motorists who display these signs indicate at least a 35 percent chance of intoxicated driving occurring.

The following are the four main categories of drunk driving behavior, according to the NHTSA:

  • Issues with maintaining proper lane position – Drunk drivers experience difficulties maintaining a consistent and steady position within and moving between driving lanes. Most common indicators include weaving through traffic and across traffic lane lines, swerving, drifting towards one side of the road, making too wide of a turn.
  • Speed and braking difficulties – Drunk drivers often have a hard time with gaging speed and distance while operating a vehicle, such as properly stopping. Common stopping issues include making stops too quickly, stopping at a distance noticeably too far from the curb, coming to a stop at an odd angle, stopping well before or beyond a limit line. Common acceleration issues include sudden acceleration or deceleration without any apparent reason, driving at a speed at least 10 or great miles per hour below the speed limit, and driving at varying levels of speed.
  • Vigilance issues – This means failure to pay attention to the surrounding and changing driving conditions, such as traffic signals and the movement of other vehicles. Common signs include driving in the wrong direction, delayed responses to traffic light signals, using the wrong side turn signal to make a turn or change lanes, and driving in the dark without having the headlights on.
  • Judgment problems – This means the inability to judge the road and proximity of objects. Common signs include tailgating, unsafe lane changes, making illegal turns, driving in an improper lane, and driving off of the road.

What to Do if You Encounter a Drunk Motorist

If you suspect that a vehicle on the road is being operating by an individual who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is imperative to keep yourself safe. Additionally, you must find a way to get them off the road.

The following are the proper steps to take when you spot a drunk driver on the road:

  • Pull off to the side of the road – Find a safe location to pull off to avoid being a risk of a drunk driving accident.
  • Contact the police – On some occasions, you will see a sign on the side of the highway with a phone number to call if you want to report an intoxicated driver. If you encounter no such sign, you could just simply contact law enforcement. Be sure to provide the description of the vehicle, your location, and your phone number in case police want to call you back.

One call to report a drunk driving can save lives and prevent a crash.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver in Fort Worth, TX, request a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of James M. Stanley today.

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