Can you report people to police who break the law, if caught on dashcam?

Discussion in 'Legal Questions' started by POQbum, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. POQbum

    POQbum New Member

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    So as most drivers know, sometimes you get those people who will brake check you, cut you off so you have to slam on your brakes, tailgate you, etc etc. Many times there is no reason they are doing it other than they are careless, or it's their idea of having fun. One time someone started throwing coins out his window at me after he passed me (I was going 15mph over the speed limit, but he wanted to go around 40mph over, it was a single lane so I couldn't just change lanes).

    If you record someone breaking the law on your dashcam, could you simply send it to the Police? Is this effective or is this a waste of police time and a waste of your own time?

    I am not looking to be a traffic crime fighter, but sometimes I get very irritated with other drivers and wish there was something I could do other than sit back and take abuse from other drivers while convincing myself to not ram their car off the road. Really, if someone is being aggressive against you, you either are going to be aggressive back, or try your best to ignore them and huddle into your turtle shell. I am the type of person who tends to fight back, so it is very hard to keep my cool when someone is purposely being a pain. If I knew I could just report them to the police, I would be at complete ease knowing that they will actually receive consequence for being a menace on the road.

    Let me know your thoughts
     
  2. Boxerman

    Boxerman Active Member

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    I know how you feel but being realistic, if no one was injured and no vehicles were damaged then the police might think that they had more important things to attend to?
    It's surprising how many occurences of bad driving you see when you have a camera fitted and quite often I think I should send the clip to the local police but like I said, if there has been no injuries etc.......

    Frank
     
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  3. sludgeguts

    sludgeguts Well-Known Member

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    I had video of a taxi driver on his mobile - clear as day. Sent of to local taxi licensing authority - who forwarded to police.
    Police said they could only take action if they witnessed it themselves, seems that my video evidence isn't good enough!
    And because police wouldn't do anything, the taxi licensing wouldn't either!
    Tells you a great deal about the society we live in.
     
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  4. mel

    mel Member

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    Police use CCTV footage as evidence all the time, so I can't see why they couldn't use footage from a car dashcam if they considered the incident serious enough for them to be bothered to investigate it. I suspect they might be more likely to view it if you supply a youtube link. ...I'd guess the police would assume that the driver is very likely to deny he was the driver of the car at the time, so in most cases they wouldn't consider it worth pursuing...

    On one of the occasions we've shown CCTV footage from a commercial premises to a policeman, I was told because he had viewed it on the DVR screen he (and we if necessary) could testify as witnesses, so it wasn't essential to have the footage. This was after explaining the DVR was a bit crap, so it would take a few hours for it to burn it to a CD, then a hour or two for me to convert it to a format he could play on his PC (since they also can't install any software), we still supplied a copy of course.

    On another occasion where we had clear, irrefutable video of a theft, and the name and address of the person involved, and I think we may even have had the numbers on the stolen bank notes, I was told it took the police over a week to visit the premises and collect the footage, so don't get your hopes of a prosecution up if you live in the UK.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  5. Dashmellow

    Dashmellow Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting to see this thread title because just yesterday I was tempted to report an aggressive, dangerous, hot headed driver I encountered in my travels in another state. A van with Florida plates (1000 miles from here) decided to come speeding up from behind me and cut me off when the road merged to one lane going over the top of a mountain highway where it heads down a steep slope as he felt he wanted to be in front of me going into the single lane. Then he proceeded to aggressively tailgate the next car in front of him weaving back and forth and tapping his brakes like he was thinking of trying to pass on this dangerous one lane downhill stretch of road because that car wasn't going as fast as he liked even though traffic was going well over the speed limit. This slope is so steep cars always drive very fast anyway by default but he wasn't satisfied with that and riding someone's bumper like that coming down a steep mountain is seriously stupid and dangerous. Then when the road leveled out he was still at it and I could see him still tapping his brakes every few seconds while he drove inches from the car's rear bumper in front of him and going physically ape-**** with frustration inside his vehicle. Then he really went nuts and started waving his arms around gesturing when the car started to slow down to turn left. Then he swerved abruptly into the next lane like a crazy madman and sped on ahead. I was turning left too so I don't know where this character was headed.

    I was really tempted to report the guy but it would have shot the rest of my afternoon dealing with the cops and trying to show them footage of what the guy did. I don't even know if they would have gone to looking for him since no accident occurred. I wasn't even sure at that time if my camera had adequately captured his behavior, or how close he was to the car ahead of him or even if I caught his plate number. Having had dash cams for several years now and having actually used footage in a legal matter I have learned that it is best to load footage onto a computer and see what you've really captured before deciding you have actionable evidence of anything worth reporting to the cops.

    The funny part about the whole experience was that I could see through his back window that this crazy guy had a dash cam stuck to his windshield! It looked from the shape like a cheap generic Chinese one and it was mounted a bit crooked, but there it was. It seemed really weird that someone would document their own dangerous, aggressive, illegal driving like that and I wondered whether the cops could have legally compelled him to show them his own incriminating footage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
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  6. roadbug

    roadbug Active Member

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    I do not know if it is still active or not but the local road police (GAI) here had a web site where you could upload video of drivers breaking the law. Do not know what happened after the video was uploaded but I guess if the infraction was bad enough they would go after you.
     
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  7. extraoneya

    extraoneya Active Member

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    Here in Calif. & I believe in most of the other states, a misdemeanor crime (ie, anything below a Felony which a traffic violation certainly is) has to be witnessed by the arresting officer......u can make a citizen's arrest in a misdemeanor situation & the officer will then take the arrested into custody, but that's all he can do.

    Now..if we're talking injury, significant damage, or hit & run type stuff...then the coppers will be (or should be) interested.
     
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  8. russ331

    russ331 Well-Known Member

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  9. extraoneya

    extraoneya Active Member

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    first thing that caught my attention on that site>>

    anti-social behaviour on the roads of London


    I love it!.....there is no way in H___, that sentence would appear on a government web page hereabouts....we have people here that majored in that subject in college.
     
  10. Sunny

    Sunny Well-Known Member

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    It depends. If it's just aggressive drive, I don't mind but if it's something dangerous, call the cops.

    I called 911 once on a driver who was in front of me. This was 7 years ago before dashcam were as popular and cheap.
    He was on a GMC Yukon or similar sized SUV and he was weaving all over three lanes.
    I followed him for few minutes and I was sure he's either completely drunk or on drugs.

    I gave description of the vehicle, how it's driving and license plate to the dispatcher and he was pulled over within few minutes by a cop who was close by.
     
  11. sludgeguts

    sludgeguts Well-Known Member

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    The main thing I have come across is "if we'd witnessed...then we could..."
    Seems that the only evidence that can be used is from police actually witnessing - and have you ever known the cops to lie?
    And this is the reason why standards on the roads are going to hell in a handcart - numbers of police on the roads are being seriously reduced & the morons out there know this, they also know that the few cops left on the roads are busy chasing the handful of drivers that ping their ANPR.
     
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  12. bronze84

    bronze84 Active Member

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    So you want to report someone who was breaking the law by speeding, when the person reporting the incident (yourself) has openly admitted breaking the law by speeding as the incident happened?
     
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  13. GJHS

    GJHS Well-Known Member

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    I think Sunny has the answer. If you see it, call the police. In the incedent with the coins, an officer would definitely have come and pulled them over; that is extremely dangerous.
    I had a friend call for a reckless driver and the cops came and pulled them over. Of course the situation has to be more than he cut me off. If your are seeing a reckless, aggressive, road rage driver who may be drunk causing multiple situations in front of you then you should call before he causes an accident. Sending video after the fact, I imagine would be less powerful than calling as it's happening.
     
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  14. POQbum

    POQbum New Member

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    Guess what, you can do it! I never planned to use dash cam footage for reporting drivers like this, but I got so upset at a driver the other day I tried. At least in Virginia you can successfully use dash cam footage to prosecute another driver who is breaking a law. I was in stop in go traffic and sluggishly waiting in traffic when a car drove on the shoulder of the road and cut me off. I reported the dash cam video to the city where the violation occurred, and the police department told me they could not press charges on traffic violations without being present (due to Virginia law), HOWEVER, I could. Takes no money. All I had to do was:

    (1) Go to police station to identify driver of the car in a photo line up (I saw him because his window was rolled down)
    (2) See a local judge, who decides if I have enough evidence to go to court (since it was on camera, I did)
    (3) The local police go to the driver's address, serves the man a subpoena.
    (4) I see the man in court, while a police officer acts as my attorney.
    (5) Man gets ticket
    (6) Justice.

    Takes ~3 hours total of my life and about 5$ in gas, and huge gratification that a reckless driver got consequences served for his driving habits.

    Minor annoyances are no big deal, but when people are extremely rude and blatantly breaking laws while being careless to everyone else is when I get upset. Those drivers who endanger other peoples lives like that shouldn't be driving.

    This method works in VIRGINIA. In other states the police may be able to charge them without you having to go through those steps.



    Nope, I said nothing about REPORTING speeding. I generally don't care if people are speeding. Even so, no dash cam can accurately record speed because it is GPS, and the courts won't accept it. If it is a single lane road and they want to go faster than me, I don't care if they pass. I care if they tailgate me/honk/swerve back and fourth/flash their brights at me because they want me to go 20 over the speed limit, or if they start brake checking me/throwing stuff out their window after they have passed me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  15. SolidEye

    SolidEye Member

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    In short, a lot of people just don't want to deal with so much work. Just imagine if you receive reports (and if not in hundreds, would possibly be in thousands), and you have to investigate all of them. It'll take so much time, and your work's going to pile up and you'll be so far behind that you'll get to your retirement and still be working at a case which is probably many years behind.

    That's the reason why they don't deal with anything unless it's an accident that already happened, or an actual crime caught on camera and is worth investigating. I feel your pain on this, although not something I encountered but my sister did a few years ago. Every single time I think about it, I always say to myself that I sure did hope that she had a dash cam that time.
     
  16. Sunny

    Sunny Well-Known Member

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    @POQbum, that's a lot of work and wasted time for me.

    If I were to report drivers cutting me off, I rather work in the police dept permanently.
    Yes I can report it but looks like different people have different threshold on what's considered dangerous and worthy of a police report.
     
  17. sludgeguts

    sludgeguts Well-Known Member

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    W
    The thing that really grinds - a lot of good police are retired early for the wrong reasons - disabled out of the force - when these same officers, often with years of experience, could be given a desk job - perhaps even working from home?
    There's plenty of vids out there where elements of breaking the law are blatantly obvious, one that's hit the news recently was the cyclist who caught a woman eating cereal whilst at the wheel.
    Take a still, cut/paste into a standard letter & slap her with a fine & points. These fines would be more than enough to pay the wages of these officers & still leave plenty in the pot for whatever else they want to use it for. It's got to be better than putting very experienced officers out to pasture!
     
  18. Dashmellow

    Dashmellow Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, you're responding to a member who hasn't logged in a half a year and posted his remarks 20 months ago. I basically agree with you, at any rate. :)
     
  19. Sunny

    Sunny Well-Known Member

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    More than I can review. ;)
    Hehe... didn't check the posted datetime.
    Alert came for the last post and saw this post that I didn't notice before.
    Oh well.
     
  20. Dashmellow

    Dashmellow Well-Known Member

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    It happens. :) Not a serious offense, so we'll let you off easy this time. :p

    Edit: Hah, I got my math wrong....wrong year, it wasn't twenty months. My bad. I plead for leniency too!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
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