How should I report road rage
February 16, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I have witnessed road rage and I want to complain about it. How should I go about this? Or should I just leave it? I live in Vaughan, Ontatio (a suburb of Toronto). I witnessed a man get out of his car (I didn't get the plate number but it was a company van with the company address and logo on it) and yell at the other driver, hit his window repeatedly and then opened his door to yank the driver out of his car. Luckily the other driver managed to let go of him and shut his door. Then the aggressor went on to kick his driver side door. It was a traumatic to witness this incident for me. I wonder what the poor driver of the other car must have gone through. All he did was block a lane to get into a lane from the gas station that would make a left turn. The other driver obviously angry that his man blocked the lane (mind you the light ahead was red). So how should I go about this? I have never reported such an incident. Should I call 911?
posted by alshain to Law & Government (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Call his company and ask to speak to a driver supervisor. They will be very interested to hear about what you witnessed and will probably be able to tell which of their drivers was in the area at the time. I work for a company with many corporate drivers and we take swift action when something like this occurs.
posted by something something at 9:47 AM on February 16, 2011 [9 favorites]

Since the incident is over & not a currently-occurring emergency, I would advise against calling 911.

You could probably call the local PD non-emergency line, but without a plate number they might not be able to get much traction. It seems to me your best bet would be to call the company directly and lodge a complaint about the behavior you witnessed -- chances are this isn't something they want associated with their company name & logo.
posted by dryad at 9:49 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Call the York Regional Police, Vaughan Divsion, at 1-866-876-5423 x7400 and tell them what you saw. If the other driver has reported the incident, you may be useful as a witness.
posted by Dasein at 9:51 AM on February 16, 2011 [7 favorites]

Call the non-emergency police number to report an assault/road rage incident. I wouldn't personally deal with the company myself.
posted by astrochimp at 9:51 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would call the company and calmly, factually (i.e. explain what happened, not how you were traumatized by it) explain what happened to a supervisor. Then forget about it.
posted by phunniemee at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd call the police. You saw a crime -- an assault. I might call the company first to let them know and also to get an ID of the perpetrator to share with police if the company will tell you who had that van. (If not, still useful for the police to know the company has that information.) You'll want to provide what info you can on the victim car too as that person may have made a police report that the police can match up with your information.

FYI I routinely report to the police when I see an assault, often right then and there on my cell phone. And I wish everyone else did this too. I think it would be a huge deterrent for perpetrators to know they can't get away with acting like this without being reported.

I'd just add that I used to prosecute, and few things were more helpful in, for example, a vehicular assault case or vehicular homicide case than independent witnesses about the perpetrator's observed behavior.
posted by bearwife at 9:58 AM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

I would look up the company online and see its size. I would worry about calling the company and then finding out that I am speaking to the person who was the road rage guy.
posted by Felex at 10:00 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Seconding calling the company. Give them the location and time it happened, and a description of the driver. The more info, the better. Call the police, too.

With the company, make sure you get the name of the person you talk to on the phone, and a case number if they have some sort of case management system. Give them a follow-up call in a day or two to find out what action has been taken. (I had a brief, miserable job answering a "how am I driving?" phone line and most of the complaints had weasely resolutions like "driver promises not to do it again" or "driver was not there at reported time.")
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:02 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Call the non-emergency police line and the company.
posted by fixedgear at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would definitely call the company. Part of my family's business is delivery and we have had people call in to tell us that one of our drivers was driving dangerously. We could always figure out which driver it was and then the person in charge of deliveries would speak to the driver about it.
posted by pised at 10:35 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok. I found the company through Google and the address. I went there and saw the same car parked in the back. I took down the car plates and pictures of the business (car alarm installation). Then I went in and saw the same man there. Though it looks like he is not an employee but the owner of the store.
posted by alshain at 10:45 AM on February 16, 2011

Response by poster: I am thinking if the owner of the company is doing this using his company car he doesn't much care about what people think of him or his business.

I guess calling the cops would be the best solution.
posted by alshain at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yup, seconded. I was first about to support the "call the company" crowd. Some people I know got very professional responses when they reported road incidents directly (YMMV depending on location and company, obviously). But this...just report him.
posted by Namlit at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Call the non-emergency number for the police and file an incident report. The victim of the assault may have already approached the police and your third-party testimony could make all the difference in how they proceed.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:55 AM on February 16, 2011

I've reported drivers operating company vehicles dangerously. Each time the people on the phone were courteous, took down the relevant info and thanked me for taking the time to report it. Several times they clearly understood which vehicle/driver I was reporting (drivers on assigned routes, etc). Whether or not anything was done about it is anyone's guess. Could be nobody ever complained, or it could be the final complaint that gets that driver out of their vehicles. Either way I feel I did my part to help them.
posted by wkearney99 at 11:00 AM on February 16, 2011

If the police aren't able/interested in doing anything, calling the business might still help. You could mention that you saw one of the employees of the business (for all you know, it was an employee) behaving in a way that was scary, reflected badly on the business, and was actually illegal. Maybe that guy needs a nudge to get counseling for anger management, or whatever other problems in his life are making him crazy.
posted by amtho at 11:18 AM on February 16, 2011

Good for you for checking this out. Please do go ahead and notify the police.
posted by bearwife at 11:34 AM on February 16, 2011

Call the police. Thank goodness he didn't have a weapon.

Take care of yourself, too. I can understand why you'd be traumatized by this. I have witnessed multiple arguments that veered into assaults and it can shake your sense of safety.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:36 AM on February 16, 2011

Ages ago, I worked for a small family-owned trucking company. If I got a call about a misbehaving company driver, I would report it to my boss if he was currently in a good mood. If he was in a bad mood, I would thank the caller and then promptly forget about it. (Although I might contact the driver privately and tell him to cut it out.)

Call the police.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:40 AM on February 16, 2011

Response by poster: I called the number above. It appears in such an incident a third party report will not be accepted:

Reports filed on behalf of a third party, i.e. another person or for public property, will not be accepted. Reports must be filed by the actual complainant, owner or authorized representative.

But I was direct to a website: and I just finished reporting the incident.

Thank you all for your kind help. I really appreciate it.
posted by alshain at 11:47 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It appears in such an incident a third party report will not be accepted

Certainly you wouldn't be able to initiate a complaint against the person, but I'm surprised they didn't take down your info in case the other motorist called to lodge a complaint. When I witnessed an accident, the police were at least willing to take down my number for a follow-up call as a witness (I called because one driver was egregiously in the wrong; turns out she confessed to falling asleep at the wheel on the 400. Note to motorists: don't drive tired! You could kill someone).
posted by Dasein at 12:37 PM on February 16, 2011

Then I went in and saw the same man there. Though it looks like he is not an employee but the owner of the store.

Definitely make a record of what you saw, and let the police know. Not sure if people are as litigious in that area, but the same facts in the United States are begging for a lawsuit for assault and for battery.
posted by Hylas at 1:42 PM on February 16, 2011

Not sure if people are as litigious in that area

If the comparator is the United States, the answer to this is always "No."
posted by Dasein at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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