Mary from Lakewood writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Hi Jayson, I remember a time (not that long ago) that you could report bad driving to CSP or the Police that would result in a letter being sent to the perpetrator. If a perpetrator received 3 letters of reported bad driving the police would pay them a visit. Is this still happening and if so, how do you report a bad driver?”
Yes Mary, not only can you still report bad drivers to the Colorado State Patrol, they encourage you to do it.
CSP’s “Star CSP aggressive driver program” started July 1, 1998. Back then, the State Patrol partnered with several cellular companies to provide the special phone number, *277 or Star CSP, to allow anyone to report in real time, free of charge, any poor driving behavior on Colorado roadways.
Since the program was started, the CSP has received more than 250,000 reports of aggressive driving. The CSP says some examples of aggressive driving behaviors are moving violations that put other motorists at risk, such as improper lane changes, following too closely, weaving, passing on the shoulder, speeding, impaired, or otherwise dangerous driving.
The State Patrol told me if someone sees an aggressive driver that is putting other motorists at risk, the aggressive driver should be avoided by getting out of the way, not making eye contact or giving any indication of disapproval of their driving behavior. Then they want you to call *277 as soon and as safely as possible and be prepared to provide the following information: Vehicle description, license plate number, location and direction of travel, driver description, and the aggressive driving behavior being demonstrated.
When any one of the hundreds of people dial *277 every day across the state, they are connected to the CSP dispatch center. The dispatcher will ask the reporting person to give the exact location, road and direction, a description of the vehicle, and the manner in which the vehicle is being driven. They will remind you to not attempt to follow or pursue the offending vehicle.
For your specific question about sending a letter to a repeat violator, the “three complaints equal a letter” program was put on hold at the end of 2017 and Trooper Josh Lewis with the Colorado State Patrol tells me the "three calls and a visit" program is no longer officially in place either. However, he says, troopers might still pay a visit to the registered owner of a vehicle, “If they are called in multiple times (and it does still happen on occasion)”.
The issue, Trooper Lewis says, is “a registered owner is not always the driver, thus we cannot simply issue a citation to a vehicles owner based on phone calls, unless we have witnesses willing to go to court and testify, or the trooper observes the behavior happen."
What happens now after multiple calls about a specific driver or problematic location, that information is still recorded and is used to let area commanders know what section of highway needs more attention and when. So, if there is a high volume of calls for certain section of roadway between certain hours, the area commanders are likely to increase the trooper presence in that area to watch for and hopefully stop the dangerous behaviors.
Trooper Lewis tells me they highly encourage anyone that observes dangerous driving to safely contact them using *277 because you might even save a life.
Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , iHeart, Spotify or Podbean.