Friday, 23 April 2010

When Is It OK To Snitch?

As a commuter, I see shit that other drivers pull that makes my hair stand on end almost every day. When I see this stuff, I consider, "should I call 911 and report what I am seeing?"

I'm not talking about the normal "stupidity" that occurs on the highway. e.g. driving down the middle lane when the right lane is clear, failing to signal lane changes, speeding, etc. It's the next level of stupid that stands out from the normal baseline of stupidity.

Here's two examples with different outcomes. An old guy in a very decrepit Chevy Blazer on the 401. The right rear tire or rim was so obviously out of round, that during every rotation that right rear wheel would bounce up and lose contact with the highway. Given that this was a rear-wheel drive vehicle, it's amazing that he wasn't swerving all over the place! Granted, he wasn't exceeding 90 km/hr (which during afternoon rush hour is a problem in and of itself), I assume either the ride would be too uncomfortable, or that he would start to lose control at higher speeds. Or both.

I didn't call that one in.

However, on Tuesday this week, I threw aside all restraint and called 911 on a driver I witnessed. It was a late-model white Pontiac G6. Traffic westbound on the 401 from Mississauga was much heavier than normal, all three lanes were full. This idiot was in such a hurry that he was weaving in and out of traffic like a cheetah chasing a gazelle (but without the grace) and he was using the shoulders as alternate lanes when he couldn't find a lane to slot himself through. I witnessed him cutting off a minivan and a transport truck cutting in from the shoulder after two of these manoeuvres. Unfortunately he went by me so fast I couldn't get any of his plate info. I tried to catch up as best I could, but given the heavy traffic and the stunts he was willing to pull to get around the traffic, my odds were low of getting close enough to read the plates.

I'm not quite sure when dangerous driving crosses the line into "attempted murder", but this particular fool was trying to find that line.

This incident I called in. I think by the time an OPP cruiser was dispatched, this guy exited the highway and was therefore never caught, but I had to make the effort.

These kind of extra-ordinary incidents appear to be happening more often. I swear I could be calling 911 three times a week. I am disquieted at two levels, that this shit appears to be happening as often as it does and that I am not sure if I should be acting on it. I really don't want a reputation in the legal system as a regular snitch. But I don't want someone to be injured or die because I could have warned the authorities and did not.

Like everybody else, I guess I could just hope that this is a weird phase and the normal traffic stupidity will resume, but I don't much like that solution either.


Ken Breadner said...

I'd suggest both instances are excellent opportunities to "snitch" as you put it. I wouldn't call it snitching, though; there is zero chance the stupid, even the criminally stupid, will catch you in your snitchery. Both cases you describe are extremely dangerous and really do require police intervention.
It's too bad that the 400-series isn't patrolled near as often as it should be.

Catelli said...

Call me paranoid but...

It ain't the idiots I report that I'm worried about. Its my record of 911 calls being used by law enforcement against me if I ever appear in a court.

Ken Breadner said...

so call *OPP instead...sorry, should have mentioned that.