Drunken drivers now have a new enemy in their midst: their fellow motorists. Anyone in an automobile that has a car phone can hit "#77" and report inebriated drivers to the Maryland State Police. BMWs and Buicks are thus being turned into patrol cars.
For the next six months, the State Police will use the #77 hotline along Interstate 95. If results are positive, the system will be expanded. In 15 states that have similar hotlines, there have been sharp increases in the number of drunk driving arrests. That makes this $10,000 program well worth every penny.
The caller need only alert the police about a possible problem. It gives citizens a chance to do more than distribute pamphlets condemning drunk driving. And it sends a message to those who are inebriated and yet still get behind the wheel of a car that they are far more likely to get caught for putting the public's safety in danger.