An Open Letter To The Texting Parkway Driver: Yes, I Reported You
To the guy who was driving the Toyota 4-Runner on the Garden State Parkway through Toms River and Brick around 8:15 last night,
If you got pulled over on Monday night, you're welcome.
You see, I'm usually the live and let live type who minds his own business and doesn't like to get involved, but this was a "if you see something, say something" situation that I just couldn't ignore.
To fill everyone else in, the driver of that Toyota 4-Runner on the Garden State Parkway last night wasn't just driving scary-fast, but he was also texting The. Whole. Time.
And, I don't mean that I saw him just glance at his screen once.
When he was behind me, I saw him looking down thanks to the blue glow on his face in my rear view mirror as his car drifted between his lane, the next lane over, and the rumble strips on the shoulder.
When he passed me and I looked over, I saw him holding his phone up while typing as he almost sideswiped me.
After he passed me, I saw the screen light reflected as he continued to inch between lanes.
All while going what I would guess was at least 85 miles per hour.
Normally, I'd come up with some creative profanities to mumble in the safety of my own car, but this guy was speeding very fast, clearly not paying attention, and all over the road.
So, I called #77 (yes, hands-free of course).
Dialing #77 connects you to New Jersey's Dangerous Driver System, and is intended for exactly these kinds of situations.
The dispatcher who answered was friendly and simply asked me what road I was on, what mile marker I was near, the description of the vehicle, and what they were doing.
Here's how the New Jersey State Police describe the #77 system:
The #77 Dangerous Driver System should be used to report aggressive or erratic driving that poses a risk to other motorists on the roadway. While these calls are important, 9-1-1 calls are prioritized over #77 calls as required by law. In #77 call response, police services are made aware of the report and respond according to availability and proximity to the incident, as well as, seriousness of the report.
I got off of the Garden State Parkway at my normal exit and the driver was way ahead of me by then, so I have no idea if he actually got pulled over or not, but if I'm being honest, I really hope that he did.
If the choice is between calling the cops which results in some guy getting a ticket, or a family getting killed because that person was speeding and not paying attention even a little, I'm going to call the cops every time.
I hope that my readers and listeners would, too.
Drive safe, everybody!