CENTRAL SIERRA — I see a reckless driver. Maybe he is driving under the influence. Do I call 911, or do I call the local CHP office?
Call 911, says Oakhurst Area CHP Officer Kaci Lutz .
People may worry they’re doing the wrong thing calling 911 because they’re not sure if seeing a drunk or reckless driver is an emergency. It is. Call 911.
“We do consider a drunk driver to be an emergency situation,” says Officer Lutz.
People may hesitate to call because they don’t know if they can use their cell phones while driving.
California Vehicle Code 23123 states that a person, “…shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”
However, it also states that, “This section does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.”
It is always best if you pull over to a designated parking spot and call, but that is not always possible.
Please, if you see a drunk driver, do not call the CHP office. Call 911. Be ready to answer these questions:
- What road is the vehicle on
- What is the nearest cross street
- The direction of travel
- A description of the vehicle
- A license plate number if possible
For non-emergencies in our local mountain area, you may call the CHP dispatch non-emergency number at (209) 356-2900, but you may only use hands-free for non-emergency calls if you are driving.