Drivers reporting reckless drivers by the thousands

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) "You can go out on (Interstate) 41 at any given time, drive up and down it a few times, and you're going to see what you would consider a reckless driver, right?"

That's the question Cullen Peltier, director of the Brown County Public Safety Communications Center poses, that's probably making you nod in agreement if you spend time on the roads in Northeast Wisconsin.

Does our area have a reckless driver problem?

We asked that after one of our staff witnessed what appeared to be a drunk driver on an interstate several weeks ago.

We asked Brown County to run some data for us to see how common it is, and even officials were surprised at the numbers that came back showing an average of nearly 16 people every day call 911 to report reckless drivers.

"I knew that's something that's a common occurrence for us, but I didn't realize the numbers were that high," says Brown County Sheriff's Patrol Captain Dan Sandberg.

"If there's something that you don't feel is safe, whether you feel a driver is putting someone else in harm, absolutely call 911," says Peltier.

And thousands of people are doing just that.

From January first to August 30, the Brown County Public Safety Communications Center received 3,837 calls from people reporting reckless drivers on the roads around them.

Brown County averages the most reckless driver calls at about 6.4 per day, slightly more than the City of Green Bay averaging 5.6 each day.

"Those seem to be the three types of categories when we have a reckless driver is they're in a rush, they're not paying attention because they're texting or something or they're intoxicated or impaired from drugs," explains Sandberg.

While some of the calls may be repeats for the same person, Peltier says many are not.

"It's a common, common call we get, day in and day out. It doesn't matter what time of day," he says. "It could be a variety of things. It could be a medical issue, could be a drunken driver, could be a mechanical issue. We don't know what that is, so if you see that, we want to know about it so we can investigate and make sure what it is."

With so many reckless driver reports, and officers often spread out to cover large areas, it's up to drivers to do their part to help catch them.

"We need the description of the vehicle, license plate, what that vehicle is doing, direction of travel so we can at least follow up," says Peltier.

But a big key is that license plate number. That gives officers not just a name but an address.

"Normally people are going to one of two places. They're either going to work or they're going home," says Sandberg. "So that way officers can at least head in that area, to get close to that area if they're not able to get behind that car initially, so they're waiting for that car when it starts to pull near that home so we can make contact with them."