The Interrogation Room: What Can I Do When I Spot a Dangerous Driver?

This week we’re introducing a new column—The Interrogation Room—where we’ll answer reader questions about cops and crime. If you’ve got something you want answered, send an email to Jonah@Seattlecrime.com, or post it here in the comments.

The Interrogation Room’s very first question comes from our friend Molly:

Sometimes, when I’m driving around Seattle, I see drivers doing extremely dangerous things (above and beyond the usual asshole driving in our city.) What constitutes a call to 911 about dangerous driving?

Will SPD do anything at all? CAN they do anything at all?

Today I had someone on MLK drive 50+mph in the suicide lane (for 2 city blocks) so that they could pass 4 vehicles going the speed limit. I get the license plates and I sometimes follow the cars for a brief while to see how unsafely they continue driving, to judge whether or not it’s worth police time.

SPD does have an Aggressive Driving Response Team, says SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

[Ed note: you can and should read my in depth coverage of the ADRT here.]

“Dangerous is a relative term. When in doubt, call 911,” Whitcomb says. “For all you know, a Seattle Police car is just around the corner.”

Whitcomb says when you call 911, you should be prepared to provide the 911 operator with a good description of the vehicle—iike the color, make, model, and license plate.

“If officers observe any violations, they can issue a ticket or warning as appropriate,” Whitcomb says. “Otherwise, they can always stop and contact the driver in question.  That would only be done on a case by case basis.  For truly recklessly driven vehicles, it is not uncommon for multiple people to call in to 911.”