Pennsylvania State Police, along with Pennsylvania's 1,300 local police departments, have to protect over 120,000 miles of roads, including nearly 40,000 miles of highway, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Obviously, officers can’t be everywhere at once and do rely upon citizens to report bad behavior. To help police and PennDOT prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities, you can report aggressive drivers to the local or state police, who work in conjunction with PennDOT to encourage vehicle and road safety. The information provided can not only help stop a driver who is currently driving aggressively but can also provide valuable information to state authorities that they can use to prevent aggressive driving in the future.
How to Report Aggressive Driving in Pennsylvania
Speeding, riding someone’s bumper, running stop signs and red lights, weaving in and out of lanes, passing slower cars on the right instead of the left and failing to yield the right of way are considered aggressive driving practices in Pennsylvania. To report an aggressive driver, pull over and dial 911 or ask your passenger to dial 911. Tell the dispatcher:
- what the driver is doing wrong;
- the make and model of the car;
- its license plate number (and state, if the plate is not a Pennsylvania plate); and
- your location
If you noticed what the driver looks like, describe him to the dispatcher, but the Pennsylvania Traffic Safety Enforcement Resource Center recommends avoiding eye contact and staying out of the driver’s way.
The Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project, a statewide initiative to crack down on aggressive driving, is working to reduce aggressive driving incidents and increase safety on Pennsylvania's roads. The project will collect data to determine roadways where aggressive driving is most common and use the information for training and increased public awareness with respect to:
- distracted driving, such as texting;
- driving too fast in unsafe conditions, such as rain, snow, sleet or fog;
- passing on the right; and
- driving recklessly through construction zones.
This type of initiative will help over the long-term; however, if you are in your car and witness an aggressive driver, the best way to report the driver is to stay out of her way and call the police. 911 will connect you to local police if you're on a local road or highway, or to the Pennsylvania State Police if you're on the interstate. Do not attempt to follow the aggressive driver; maintain a safe distance and keep your awareness of the other cars around you if you're driving. The police will handle the other driver using the description you provide.
Read More: How to Report Reckless Driving
The Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
Aggressive driving and road rage are two different things, according to PennDOT. Aggressive driving becomes road rage, a criminal offense, when a driver draws a weapon, pulls over to start a fight or uses his car as a weapon by ramming or even just nudging another car or running another driver off the road.
If you accidentally cut someone off or incite another driver in some other way, you could try to calm the person down by waving, saying you’re sorry and letting him pass you. But if you believe you’re in danger, don’t escalate the situation. Refrain from making eye contact and call 911.
Speeding caused 316 fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2016. If you see someone blowing past other drivers and weaving in and out of traffic, memorize the license plate number, pull over and call the police. Avoid the urge to follow the other driver or try to make contact with that person, as aggressive driving can escalate to road rage and create an unsafe situation.
Miranda is a Cleveland-based content writer and magazine writer.