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Chooser cruiser urges revelers to drive sober

Tuesday - 11/20/2012, 2:12pm  ET

Cabcruiser_main.jpg
It's a hybrid of a different color. Public safety leaders unveil a half police cruiser, half taxi designed to act as a mobile billboard, highlighting the choice drivers have at the end of a night of drinking in Arlington Tuesday. Officials hope it will encourage sober driving. (WTOP/Mollenbeck)
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Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

ARLINGTON - It's a police cruiser. It's a taxi. It's... a hybrid?

This head-turning car sports the look of a white Arlington County Police car from the front. The back half is a spot-on Arlington Yellow Cab.

In an effort to prevent drunken driving this holiday season, public safety leaders unveiled the two-tone Crown Victoria, dubbed the Chooser Cruiser, Tuesday. The car will be parked near nightlife hotspots to remind revelers they have two options to get home.

Police cars and taxis "both transport people who have over indulged at the end of an evening," says Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.

"We're hoping that it's a reminder, a stark reminder, that people have a choice how they're transported home at the end of an evening," he says.

The hybrid car and its decal message, "Choose your ride," will be out as early as Wednesday.

Police describe it as a "mobile billboard" that they will use throughout the holidays, particularly along Clarendon and Wilson boulevards.

"Whether it's the back seat of a police car or the back seat of a taxicab, it's all about making the right choice," Erickson says.

The program will also run SoberRide again this year. Anyone 21 and older can call for a free cab ride (if the fare is less than $30) home from anywhere in the greater D.C. area.

The service is available from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Beginning begins Dec. 14. Riders can call 800-200-TAXI (800-200-8294) to dispatch a participating cab.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)