Change in Community

Local “Reckless Driving” Hotline

Motorcycles are fast and an efficient form of personal transportation in the United States and all over the world. According to Fagnant & Kockelman (2015), motorcycles differ from other motor vehicles in their physical operation, size, driver exposure, and design. Their design exposes their users to high risk with little protection in the event of a crash. Notably, although motorists understand the risk of injury and deaths due to collisions, crash rates, and severity of injury are significantly higher as compared to other road users. For instance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycles in the United States have a 68 percent higher crash rate per mile traveled as opposed to passenger cars and trucks. Even more worrying is the fact that motorcyclists killed while riding on the U.S. highways represented 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in the country. Past research examining factors associated with cause and increased severity of motorcycle crashes indicate that rider intoxication, drug impairment, and aggressive riding. In Tennessee, there has been an increase of reckless motorcycle driving. More specifically, in Clarksville, there has been an influx of motorcycle accidents caused by reckless driving. Reporting about an accident that happened on Warfield Boulevard, Allen (2016) noted that witnesses reported that the rider was traveling at a high rate of speed when he collided with a Saturn SL1. Notably, this is just one of the many accidents involving motorcycles that have resulted in deadly accidents. Thus, due to an increase in reckless motorcycle driving in Clarksville, TN area, it is proposed that there should be a local “reckless driving” hotline established to protect motorcycle drivers, vehicular drivers, and the laws themselves.

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Reporting Reckless Driving in the United States

In the United States, road users are always encouraged to call 911 on the freeway to report reckless driving. On the technical side, when one calls 911, they telephone operators gather the initial information and redirect the caller to the Highway Patrol Center. Unfortunately, the procedural side is often more complicated than it appears. Like with all other cases, in reckless driving there needs to be evidence of recklessness, because if the police officer did not witness the reckless driving, they cannot testify in court as to what transpired. Thus, the person reporting the reckless driver is expected to sign a complaint and agree to appear as a witness in court to testify against the offender. In some most states like West Virginia, if the person reporting the reckless driver is the only eyewitness, he or she must be able to initiate the case (“Aggressive/ reckless driver – how to report,” n.d). However, cases of witness testimony are often complicated. As Walton (2012) notes, the attorney representing the offender often cross-examines the witness giving eyewitness testimony. The interrogation is more than seeking dialogue but borders on information extraction through factual questions. The attorney probes critically into the testimony of the eyewitness, to a point of attacking it. In some cases, the attorney even goes to a point of using ad hominem to impeach the witness. As a result, eyewitnesses may be unwilling to testify or press charges against the reckless driver. In fact, most people do not actually want to go that far. In return, this leaves the Highway Patrol with a problem, they have to go and witness the behavior themselves. However, if they cannot find the vehicle or if the driver ceases to be reckless, then there will be no evidence or testimony, and thus no case.  So if a witness is not willing to testify and the only sole complainant, the priority of the call goes down and probably only gets broadcast to the necessary units as information to be on the lookout and case closed. On the other hand, if the caller is willing to testify, then the priority may go up. When more than one person calls reporting the same reckless driving, it presents strong evidence that is not based on a mere dispute over the behavior of the driver. 

Develop a Local “Reckless Driving” Hotline

Clarksville, Tennessee has been experiencing an influx of motorcycle reckless driving. The state of Tennessee has an online system that allows people to report a reckless driver. According to the Nashville.gov website, the reporter is expected to fill in the required information including the area of the incident, vehicle description and driver, description of incidents observed, and the number of times the incident has been observed (“Report an aggressive driver,” n.d). Individuals supplying the Metropolitan Police Department with the information, they are also supposed to leave their contact information so that an officer can contact them and follow up with the issue. Unfortunately, the process takes the reporter to the complicated process of committing their time to be the eyewitness. Consequently, the reporting requires one to enter their personal information including their name, address, telephone, and email address. Unfortunately, although confidentiality may be assured, most people might not be comfortable giving out their personal information. Along with that, the Nashville reporting covers a wide area, which means that the reporting in some places might be overlooked. Designing and developing a local “reckless driving” hotline specifically for Clarksville will help the community call the line and report the reckless motorcycle driving as it happens. The local “reckless driving” hotline will help the locals report the reckless drivers and give the exact location of the driver. With that kind of information, the local police can then be able to mount barricades ahead of the rider and nub them in their reckless driving. Additionally, the established of a local “reckless driving” hotline is likely to put on alert reckless drivers that they will be reported for their behavior. Therefore, the drivers are more likely to change and stop their behavior, which will help improve the road safety in Clarksville, Tennessee area. 

Road traffic accidents are part of the most critical problems facing the world. Despite the widespread measures put in place to control or minimize the problem, the incidence of road accidents is increasing every day. In Clarkesville, Tennessee area, the local community is faced with an influx of increased motorcycle reckless driving, which has led to increased road traffic accidents. Within the state of Tennessee, the Nashville police government has an online system where people can report an aggressive driver. Unfortunately, the whole process of reporting expects the person who makes the report to bear witness to the offender and to commit their time to testify in a court of law for the offender to be punished. The process is complicated and time-consuming as well, which leads to most people not reporting the recklessness when they witness it. Consequently, the Nashville website also covers a wide area, which leaves the police with a wide area to focus on. Establishing a local “reckless driving” hotline will help Clarksville community to report the incidents as they happen and enable the police to track down on the reckless drivers. 

References

“Aggressive/reckless  driver – how to report.” (n.d). Virginia State Police. Retrieved from: http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Aggressive-reckless_Driver.shtm

“Report and aggressive driver.” (n.d). Nashville.Gov.  Retrieved from: https://www.nashville.gov/Police-Department/Online-Services/Report-Aggressive-Driver.aspx

Allen, D. (2016). Motorcyclist in critical condition after Clarksville crash. WKRN.COM. Retrieved from: http://www.wkrn.com/news/motorcycle-collides-with-car-in-clarksville-3-injured/1057639332

Fagnant, D. J., & Kockelman, K. M. (2015). Motorcycle Use in the United States: Crash Experiences, Safety Perspectives, and Countermeasures. Journal of Transportation Safety & Security, 7(1), 20-39.Walton, D. (2012). Legal argumentation and evidence. University Park: Penn State Univ Press.

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