Vigilante Stopped a Drunk Driver – Did She Do the Right Thing?

can you stop a drunk driver?As citizens, it’s our duty to report crime when we see it. And we’re told to do just that – call the police and report it. It’s not normally expected that we intervene ourselves, say, to stop a drunk driver – that’s the police officer’s job.

But a Las Vegas woman saw a drunk driver on the 215 recently, and she did call the police. But she worried that they wouldn’t arrive in time to prevent  dangerous collision, so she followed the driver and, when he stopped and exited his car, she managed to snatch his keys and drive away.

No doubt Ciara Bergman prevented the driver from hurting anyone that night. But did she do the right thing?

Her friends, and a lot of supporters, say yes. She was a heroine who stopped a dangerous man before he could harm innocent people.

Some experts disagree. Any police officer, for instance, would have told her not to confront the drunk driver or try to take his keys. There’s no telling if the suspect could turn violent. After all, we already know the driver in question is not making wise decisions, and not overly concerned with the safety of others. It could have turned ugly.

For the record, if you see a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advises the following:

  • Stay as far away as possible from the other vehicle
  • Do not try to pass it or signal the driver to pull over
  • Note the license plate number and make, model and color of the vehicle, but only if it is safe to do so
  • Pull over and call 911, giving the location and the direction in which the vehicle is being driven

Ciara Bergman did a lot more than this, and there’s no doubt about her courage or public spirit. But just because she managed to stop a drunk driver this time doesn’t mean that it will always go smoothly. The best advice is to leave the apprehension to the police. And of course, to never drive drunk yourself.