How Do I Report a Non-Emergency Traffic Violation?

By Rita Radostitz - Updated June 20, 2017
Woman calling 311 on cell phone from a parked car

If you are reporting a non-emergency traffic violation, you do not want to call 911 since 911 is reserved for true emergencies. Many cities have a special service for non-emergencies where you can call 311 to make a report. Some cities also allow you to report a non-emergency traffic violation through a city website. In cities without 311 service, call the non-emergency police number to report a traffic violation, and have all the information that you need to report written down for quick reference during your call.

Information

When you call to make a report of a non-emergency traffic violation, you should be ready to provide the date and time of the violation, the location of the violation and as much information you have about the vehicle and driver involved in the violation. If the violation involved an accident, it is prudent to contact the police before you leave the scene even if there are no injuries or obvious damage to the vehicle.

Cities With 311 Service

Baltimore was the first city to create a special number to call when you needed to make a non-emergency report of a traffic violation or to get further information. Like 911 service, 311 service connects you directly to an operator who can take your traffic violation report.

According to Dispatch Magazine Online, a resource for public safety communications, in 2009 there were close to 80 cities or counties in the United States and 14 cities in Canada with 311 service. In those cities, when you want to report a non-emergency traffic violation, you simply call 311 and give the information to the operator.

The cities and counties in the U.S. with 311 service include (in alphabetical order by city or county name): Akron, Ohio; Albany, Georgia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Anaheim, California; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Baytown, Texas; Berkeley, California; Bethel, Alaska; Birmingham, Alabama; Broward County, Florida; Buffalo, New York; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbia County, Georgia; Columbus, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Danbury, Connecticut; Dekalb County, Georgia; Delray Beach, Florida; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Dothan, Alabama; Dukes County, Massachusetts; Dyersburg, Tennessee; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Gardena, California; Hampton, Virginia; Harford County, Maryland; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Knoxville, Tennessee; Kyle, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky; Little Rock, Arkansas; Los Angeles, California; Lynwood, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Lubbock, Texas; Miami-Dade, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mobile, Alabama; Nashville / Davidson County, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York City, New York; North Hempstead, New York; Oakland, California; Orange County, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Pinal County, Arizona; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Reno, Nevada; Riverside, California; Rochester, New York; Sacramento, California; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Savannah, Georgia; Schaumburg, Illinois; Schertz, Texas; Solano County, California; Somerville, Massachusetts; Springfield, Massachusetts; Stamford, Connecticut; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Yonkers, New York.

In Canada, there is 311 service in the following cities: Calgary, Alberta; Gatineau, Quebec; Windsor, Ontario; Ottawa, Ontario; St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador; Fort St. John, British Columbia; Greater Sudbury, Ontario; Laval, Quebec; Montreal, Quebec; Halton Region, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Vancouver, British Columbia; Toronto, Ontario.

Cities Without 311 Service

In those thousands of cities that do not have 311 service, the easiest way to report a non-emergency traffic violation is to call the non-emergency police number. You can locate that number in the front of your phone book, or by doing an internet search for "non-emergency police number [your city]" to locate the correct phone number.

About the Author

Rita Radostitz lives in Eugene, Oregon. She has written about human rights, health & fitness and interesting people for years. Her articles have appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Oregon Quarterly and on various websites. Radostitz holds a Masters of Science in journalism with distinction from the University of Oregon and a law degree cum laude from Villanova University.

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