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Reporting Traffic Violators

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Reporting Traffic Violators

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 1, 2007

Following the article “Parking Enforcement on the Square” is a comment by an attorney who posted as “crystal lake”. In his comment he wrote, “I'm an attorney and I was shocked to hear about the time you asked the Woodstock Police to ticket someone for passing you on route 14. The officer's wouldn't write a ticket based on your "eyewitness" testimony, so you went to the Chief of police.”

This morning’s Northwest Herald and Chicago Tribune carried stories about the fatal accident Saturday night on Route 62, Algonquin Road, in Barrington Hills. This is the second fatal accident in a month on Route 62. A car with family headed home after a church program was hit almost head-on about 11:20PM by a 22-year-old Crystal Lake man who, according to the Tribune article, “…made multiple passing attempts just before the accident, even though that stretch of road is a no-passing zone.” Two people were killed.

I drive that roadway often, although during the day. It is well-marked and has good sight distances. And it’s a no-passing zone for about four miles, between Highway 68 and Highway 25.

So, should drivers report careless, reckless and possibly drunk drivers? Should safe drivers report drivers who pass in no-passing zones? Should they report drivers who tailgate them at 55MPH?

Yes, yes and yes. Absolutely they should. In many areas of Chicagoland, you can dial *999 on your cell phone and reach an emergency services operator who will connect you with the nearest police department. Tell the operator where you are. If you know the town or city, tell them; if you only know the location (ex., Route 62 going toward Highway 59), tell them that. When you reach the local department, stay on the phone.

Unfortunately, the smaller police departments are stretched thin and may not be able to get a police car to you before you are out of their jurisdiction. Tell the police dispatcher that you want help from the police in the next town. If it’s an emergency, dial 911.

Your call could save a life. You may not be willing to go to court, as I am, but alerting the police may get a dangerous driver off the road. Be ready to provide as much detail as possible, even it is only a partial license plate number. The cops may be able to fall in behind, observe a traffic violation on their own for which they can make a traffic stop, and they’ll take over from there.

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