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MailTribune.com
  • Calling police is fine to report dangerous drivers

  • Yesterday in Talent, a car almost hit a bicyclist crossing Highway 99 by the work release. The driver didn't even slow down and only missed because the cyclist sped up and changed direction. It wasn't an emergency, because the driver was not speeding or swerving and didn't actually hit the biker. Should I have called the poli...
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  • Yesterday in Talent, a car almost hit a bicyclist crossing Highway 99 by the work release. The driver didn't even slow down and only missed because the cyclist sped up and changed direction. It wasn't an emergency, because the driver was not speeding or swerving and didn't actually hit the biker. Should I have called the police when I got home? What good would that have done? Is there any recourse open to people who see dangerous drivers?
    — Susan A., via email
    Susan, don't hesitate to call police when you witness reckless behavior on the road.
    Police may not be able to cite the driver, but they will scope out the area and put that car on their — pun alert — radar in case the driver is either intoxicated or continues to drive recklessly, said Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department.
    "There are thousands of scenarios where folks witness these types of infractions, and they have varying degrees of seriousness," he said.
    "We request an area check and keep an eye out for that vehicle," he added.
    If something like this happens again, Susan, call the police department's non-emergency phone number (541-770-4783) with a description of the car.
    Police can't take action on a traffic violation unless they witness it or it results in a car crash. However, if you are set on seeing a bad driver cited, go to the police department and fill out a citizen traffic violation complaint form. You'll be asked to provide the date and time of the incident, as well as a description of the car and driver, and be required to sign the form in the presence of a judge or clerk.
    "We'll print up the vehicle registration to determine if it is the person that (the citizen) is referencing and see if what they did is a violation," Budreau said. "We will then locate the driver and issue a citation. If he pleads not guilty, then it is up to the citizen and the driver to go to court."
    Budreau said people rarely go to this length to see a driver reprimanded, but there are a few who are familiar with the process and do it frequently. We all know the type.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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