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Can You Report a Reckless Driver?
You're driving in the correct lane for your speed on the highway, and then suddenly there's a whoosh and someone's slamming on their brakes before getting into a drag race with the vehicle next to them. What should you do?
Reckless drivers pose a significant threat to bikers in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. We're going to cover how to report a reckless driver, what sort of behaviors to spot, who to call and next steps to take.
What is a reckless driver?
Here are some location-specific definitions of a reckless driver, depending on your state:
- In Georgia: Reckless driving is defined in O.C.G.A. Â§ 40-6-390 as "any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons and property." This is considered to be a misdemeanor.
- In South Carolina: Reckless driving is defined in S.C. Code Â§ 56-5-2920 as "any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." This may result in a suspended license.
- In Tennessee: Reckless driving is defined in TCA 55-10-205 as "any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." This may result in a misdemeanor. Tennessee motorcyclists should know that raising the front tire off the ground on a public road is enough to be considered "reckless" in this state.
Examples of Reckless Behavior
But that is simply the legal definitions. What are some examples of reckless behaviors?
- Racing vehicles
- Driving without headlights
- Improper passing or merging
- Extreme speeding (or, conversely, driving far below the speed limit)
- Excessive Swerving
- Drifting between lanes (or, for motorcycles, lane splitting)
- Ignoring traffic signals/signs
- Road rage
Can you report a reckless driver?
Yes, you can formally report a reckless driver. Generally, it's a good idea to do so if you've witnessed near-accidents or observed extremely endangering behavior. While 911 should only be called in dangerous situations, drunk, rage-fueled, under-the-influence and texting drivers can be a danger to themselves and others.
How do you report a reckless driver?
- Either ask a passenger to take down this information or memorize as much as you without following or tailgating the car.
- The license plate state and, if possible, number
- The color of the car
- The make and model, if possible
- The number of doors
- Distinctive markings, bumper stickers or dents
- The number of people in the car
- Either ask your passenger to call or pull over at a safe area to call.
- Either call an emergency number (911) if lives are in danger or call the local police force's non-emergency number (more on that below). For trucks, call the number on the "how's my driving" sticker.
- If calling or stopping is not an option, you can make a report at home on popular databases like the Nexar or Drive Me Crazy. Your local DMV or police department may have their own online forms or emails for reporting reckless drivers.
Gathering evidence is one of the reasons why dashboard cameras have increased in popularity; they can show the police and others the details of what happened.
What number do I call to report a reckless driver?
If lives are currently in danger, you can usually call 911 or the number of your local police.
- In Tennessee: Locals in Tennessee can call *847 to report a reckless driver. Nashville locals can use this form.
- In South Carolina: Locals can call *47 or 911 for roadway emergencies.
- In Georgia: Locals can call 911. Those living in the Atlanta area can report online as well.
What happens when you report a reckless driver?
If a cop catches the erratic behavior, they may be able to stop the driver, prevent accidents and write a ticket. If they miss them, however, there's not much that can be done. That's why dashboard cameras have become increasingly popular, as for many states and counties footage can be used as evidence.
Reckless drivers have a legal definition and typically go far beyond negligence, posing a safety risk to others. Each state has its own definitions of what counts as "reckless." As we mentioned before, Tennessee has pretty strict policies against "popping a wheelie" on a motorcycle on public roads. They also range in the level of punishment and penalties. This can include anything from a fine to jail time to a full license suspension.
If you as a motorcycle driver have been hit by a reckless driver, connect with our legal team. We have the expertise needed to walk you through a reckless driving case.