Is Huffing While Driving a Reportable Offense?

August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm in Crime, culver city, Law Enforcement, West Side

Recently, I wrote a post about a young female driver illegally holding her cell phone up to her ear and talking on it while driving, without using a hands-free device or the speakerphone. I included pictures of the offender. There was a split of opinion in the comments as to whether it was useful to try to change the behavior of such drivers by photographing them, speaking to them, and highlighting them on L.A. Metblogs. Today, I saw a guy huffing behind the wheel. I’d like to know what, if anything, readers think should be done about him.

This afternoon, I was returning to my parked car at a store off of Washington Boulevard in Culver City, when a large black SUV pulled in so close next to my car that I had to wait for the female passenger to get out of the SUV before I could open my door. I walked to the passenger side of my car to put something inside. As I did so, I looked at the SUV to make sure the woman getting out didn’t smack my door with hers. As I was watching, I saw the man in the driver’s seat of the SUV hold a large plastic bag up to his nose and mouth, and inhale. They both exited the SUV and walked into the store. When I came around to the driver’s side of my car, I glanced inside the SUV and saw a large clear plastic bag, like the kind you get from a dry cleaners, knotted at one end.

Now, I don’t mean to play Nancy Drew or Agent Cody Banks.  I’m really not on the lookout for this type of behavior. If I could come up with another explanation for what the SUV driver was doing, I would give him the benefit of the doubt. I suppose there’s a one-in-a-million chance that he was innocently tying a plastic bag with his teeth for some reason (talk about hands-free), or maybe he was having a panic or hiccup attack and had to hyperventilate, just once, for a second. I have no predisposition to look out for huffers. I have never seen anyone do this, and it’s never on my mind. I just know what I saw, and I was very disturbed to see someone do something which could make him a 6,500 pound menace on the roads.

I know the make and model of the SUV, and the license plate (which was an easy to remember vanity plate).  However, unlike the illegal cell phone chatterers, I did not think this was a useful situation in which to feature the SUV, its driver, and/or its license plate here on L.A. Metblogs, or to communicate directly with the driver.

So, if this happened to you, would you do anything about it?  Would you call the cops?  Would you simply try to steer clear of the driver?  Would it make a difference if the driver was drinking alcohol, or doing some other kind of drugs behind the wheel?

By the way, I could have written instead about my Rutger Hauer sighting nearby less than an hour later (think wrinkles and bleached blonde hair), but I felt that this huffing post was more important.

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