In what USA Today
terms “highway snitch programs,” police are increasingly relying on civilians to report reckless drivers to local law enforcement.Missouri, the District of Columbia and at least 25 other states already have systems in place where drivers can report irresponsible road behavior online, by phone, or by mail. If reports come over the phone, police typically send an officer to investigate. If reports come online or by mail, police verify the license information and send the motorist a letter warning of the dangers of aggressive driving.The police departments generally appreciate the extra eyes on the road. But others have doubts about the programs’ effectiveness, which has never been scientifically evaluated. Some traffic experts worry people will use the system to make false accusations or escape culpability themselves, USA Today
reports.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates highway accidents cost over $40 billion in damages every year in addition to causing thousands of deaths.