New 'Choose Your Ride' car encourages drivers to pick a sober ride

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – A vehicle that resembles a police car on one half and a taxi on the other half will soon take over the streets of Jackson County, Missouri.

The Jackson County Traffic Safety Task Force on Wednesday unveiled the “Choose Your Ride” car. The goal is to use the car as a mobile billboard to remind drivers to choose a sober driver if they need to go somewhere after drinking alcohol.

The old police cruiser, donated by Independence Police, has a new paint job: the front is black and white like a police car, and the back is yellow like a taxi.

The vehicle's message is that a person can either pay a minimal fee for a taxi after drinking or take the more costly risk of getting pulled over for driving under the influence -- or worse, crashing into another car and killing either themselves or another person. 

“I guarantee you it does get a message across,” said Independence Police Sgt. Jason Petersen, who has driven the car. “Most of the time people try to figure out what it is when they first see it. It's kind of confusing for second. Hopefully that very short message on the side just hits home.”

The car is modeled after a similar vehicle that a member of the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving saw while visiting Florida. This is the first car of its kind in the Kansas City metro area. Authorities plan to drive it all over Jackson County. 

“I think the message I want people to hear today is that drunk driving could completely be eliminated today. If everybody made the choice to not drink and drive, we would end drunk driving today. It's that simple,” said Heartland MADD Chapter Leader Leann Lewis.

The concept was a collaborative effort. MADD came up with the idea for the car. Independence police donated a vehicle. Chux Trux, Destination Safe and the Missouri Department of Transportation paid for some repairs and the paint job. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office will store the vehicle and pay to maintain it. 

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