Part police cruiser, part taxi, shrink-wrapped car encourages people who drink to 'choose' their ride
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — On average, the costs associated with a single drunk driving arrest in Utah are about $10,000.
"People don't realize the whole consequences of getting arrested," says Sgt. Ted Tingey of the Utah Highway Patrol.
"Once you get pulled over for drunk driving you are going to get arrested, go to jail, get your license suspended or revoked. Your car's going to get impounded. You're going to have an alcohol treatment program and you're going to be given an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. There's court costs, attorneys fees and restitution if you've hurt or injured somebody or damaged someone else's property," Tingey said in an interview Sunday.
Add to that the impacts on one's family, friends and employment.
Contrast that with the average cab fare in Salt Lake City, which is $15.53, according to TaxiFareFinder.com.
"Choose Your Ride," a new partnership between the UHP and the Woods Cross Police Department, encourages people to contemplate the choices of taking a taxi after drinking or an arrest for drunken driving, resulting in a ride in the back seat of a police car.
The car is a visual reminder that people have a responsibility to themselves and others when they imbibe, Tingey said. The message is "I've got a choice when it comes to drinking. Hopefully, they'll choose a taxi," or a designated driver, Tingey said.
Crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in Utah are on the rise after a four-year decline, Tingey said. Those crashes are three times more likely to result in fatalities, according to the UHP.
Tingey said there were three DUI arrests in Lehi this weekend alone.
The car, a retired Woods Cross Police vehicle, will be on display at a number of public events this fall, among them the upcoming Utah State Fair.
Tingey said drunk driving arrests span the driving population, which includes young drivers who are underage drinkers to seniors. But young adult males remain the "hard to reach" segment of people arrested for DUI, he said.
Last year, more than 1,300 people ages 15-20 were arrested for DUI, according to UHP statistics.
However, DUI arrests are highest among people ages 21-36 with 6,656 arrest, 57 percent of total arrests.
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