ACPD, Red Top to Unveil Anti-Drunk Driving Vehicle

by ARLnow.com October 26, 2012 at 10:25 am 11,476 95 Comments

Update on 10/29/12 — The press event has been postponed until after Election Day (Nov. 6) due to Hurricane Sandy.

Arlington County Police, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and Red Top Cab are preparing to reveal a secret weapon in the fight against drunk driving.

The weapon: a Ford Crown Victoria that’s half ACPD police car and half taxi. The vehicle — pictured here on the county property yard several weeks ago, in an unfinished state — will be parked strategically throughout the county and used to remind party-goers of two options for getting back home after a night of drinking: in the back of a taxi or, if they try to drive drunk, in the back of a police car.

The vehicle, which is still being retrofitted and decorated, will be officially unveiled just before noon outside Arlington police headquarters on Wednesday (Halloween). The unveiling will coincide with WRAP’s SoberRide program, which will offer anyone 21 and over in the greater D.C. area a free taxi ride home from 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31 to 6:00 a.m. the next day. The SoberRide phone number is 1-800-200-TAXI.

SoberRide operates on high-risk holidays: Halloween, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day. Halloween is a particularly dangerous time to drive: 40 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths during Halloween are caused by drunk drivers, according to WRAP.

While the Halloween holiday isn’t until Wednesday, the anti-drunk driving message also applies this weekend, which is prime time for Halloween parties and bar crawls.


  • CW

    And the same amount of money could be used to put how many officers out on patrol to get drunk drivers off the street?

    • Probably not much considering that this seems to be an existing patrol car that is painted taxi cab yellow.

      • BrianKal

        Actually the opposite, taxicab likely donated by Red Top paid like a cop car .. notice the Hack plates and tax sticker

      • NYPD has used this technique as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alPHJ5jWwcE

        • YTK

          NY does everyting better than this burgh

          • Need a Bigger Shark

            Especially police harassment and corruption!

    • ComeOnMan

      You speak from the muck of ignorance, 99% of the project is donated.

      • CW

        99%? That’s a nice even number. Source? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but that would have been a nice fact to include in the article.

  • CrystalMikey

    I had to make sure the calendar didn’t say 4/1

  • DCBuff

    OMG, this is going to be soooo good. Where’s Steve, Wei, drax, SG, DIC, and the rest of the Delta House?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      N-Steve is over in the forum section having the usual rhubarb about smoking/smoking bans and trying link that to bars/alcohol/noise…the usual SSDD. Don’t count on his attendance.

      • DCBuff

        Blue, thought you’d be getting one last game of bocce in before the storm.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Nope, I don’t play bocce.

      • novasteve

        Once again Bluemont, you claim you can’t stand me bringing it up, but you take every opportunity to bring it up.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Whatever, honey lamb

          • WeiQiang

            speaking of honey stuff, what is UP with this Honey Boo Boo thing? Do people watch a show about that? What does it entail?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I’m not sure what it is, Wei. There are people that watch that show, just like there are people who watch Jerry Springer or Toddlers and Tiaras. Not my glass of whiskey for sure.

          • Venn Diagram

            glass of whiskey – NOW you’re talking! It’s 5:00 somewhere

          • KJ

            All I know is, on “The Soup” the other day, the host played a snippet and called the Honey Boo Boo kid’s mother “The Thumb,” based on the exploitative mom’s large, undefined, neckless shape. That was the best laugh I’d had in a while.

          • WeiQiang

            I can go to WalMart and get that.

          • that sounds delicious…

        • cause

          I glanced at the forum. At least three threads on the first page are about smoking. Regardless of who brings it up, it’s clearly a subject near and dear to your heart (and lungs), Steve.

          • Captain_Obvious

            99% of the time, he brings it up.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Ain’t that the truth, brother, ain’t that the truth!

    • drax

      Food fight!

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Err…smoke fight!

    • SomeGuy

      Please point out this “SG” character when he gets here. He/she sounds like someone I’d like to meet.

      • WeiQiang

        SG is not only a handsome man; he’s a powerful man.

        I object to the Delta House reference. I’m not a joiner.

        • DCBuff

          GDI then.

  • Joe

    It’s probably only a couple of grand for the paintjob, which is really all that is. They painted the rear half of a police cruiser.

    Who knows? They might have even gotten Red Top or the autobody shop to kick in or do it gratis for a little publicity. Painting the rear half of a Crown Vic one solid color isn’t exactly the most challenging job for an autobody shop.

    • R. Griffon

      Exactly. Plus I’d think that the County maintains their own maintenance capability for County vehicles, including light body work. So I’d imagine the cost is more like a few hours of County employee time and a couple cans of paint.

    • Right of Center

      It’s very disturbing. Much like those MD football helmets last year. But I know we all strive to be like MD.

  • novasteve

    Has anyone succesfully gotten a sober ride cab within 3 hours?

    • R. Griffon

      I don’t know about elsewhere, but you can walk out onto the main drag and hail a cab in minutes in Clarendon on a Friday or Saturday night.

      • coppa

        yeah but you would have to pay for it….

        • B22201

          If you’re too cheap to pay for a cab, then you should probably stay at home and drink there. (not you specifically, just people).

          Though, I see no reason to use a cab when I can walk or Metro.

          • R. Griffon

            Exactly. If you can afford to go out drinking in ARL, then you can darn well afford the cab home.

        • Captain_Obvious

          true, or don’t drink that last $7 beer.

    • DCBuff

      The one time I tried, and I admit it has been several years, I couldn’t even get through on the phone.

    • SomeGuy

      Steve, a friend and I once tried the SoberRide thing several years. We weren’t in any rush, so we just called it in and figured we’d finish our drinks when it got there. It never did.

      • cause

        Did you ever finish your drinks? Was your friend ever seen again? You are horrible at telling stories!

        • DCBuff

          Marketing ploy. You need to buy the book to find out.

          • cause

            “Some Guy Walks Into a Bar…”

          • Man of Polish Descent

            I like this joke… so far.

          • Wait For The Movie

            I am waiting for the movie…….

    • YTK

      How can you be sure the Cab Driver for a SoberRide isn’t tanked????

      • Ben

        Considering I’ve seen my fair share of DC cabbies drinking 40’s, not really 100% certain.

      • SomeGuy

        In my experience, cabbies are usually sober on the job. Either way, taking a cab shifts the risk of DUI to someone else, which is worth the fare.

    • Parkington

      Yes, I have several times on New Years, from my friends house who usually throws parties. It does take a while to get through, but if you just call repeatedly for a half hour you’ll get through. I did this while sitting and talking with people and it wasn’t too frustrating. The cab showed up in another half hour or so. Got a free ride from Fairfax to Arlington that would have otherwise cost close to $30. Tipped the guy $10, well worth it.

  • R. Griffon

    I actually think it’s a great idea (combined with proactive, aggressive enforcement that actually targets people leaving bars rather than roadblocks that stop the public at large at some random intersection).

    Interested in seeing the final product.

    • I agree about targeted enforcement at bars. I always thought that the police should have a breathalizer available for anyone who wanted to use it. If you are over the limit, go back inside for another hour or however long it takes you to sober up. Seems like a better move to me.

      • DCBuff

        Sober up by going back inside a bar? Hmm. Maybe if there is coordination with the bar; e.g., once someone blows over the limit, the bar and the patron agree no more adult beverages.

  • ballstonian

    Nobody’s going to fall for this – it’s not an electric vehicle, or even a hybrid, ergo Arlington never would have approved this as a taxicab.

    • FrenchyB

      And yet, somehow, half the cabs at the Ballston taxi stands are regular old Crown Vics.

  • Hmmm

    The way that the article is worded, it would seem that the police are going to be giving people rides home….

    • Need a Bigger Shark

      Hell yeah! Maybe If i tip them in advance, they’ll let me turn on the sirens! I could get home REAL quick then!

  • Thes

    If this is something being paid for by Red Top, why are they using a yellow taxi color?

    • Clarendon

      Red Top and Yellow Cab of Arlington are basically the same company.

      • Thes

        I wonder if that’s what they say when they’re applying for all those new taxi permits…

      • BrianKal

        also Washington Flyer too

    • CrystalMikey

      Probably because Yellow is more associated with taxis here in the US.

      • ronfrom22207

        Yeah, but that is that sick Fairfax Cab orange.

        • DCBuff

          Then they can nail drunkards from FFC who drive through our hood and object to our schools being in the way of their commuting to WDC.

    • TreeHugger

      I was hoping for b/w checkerboard or half wienermobile.

  • Douglas Lark

    It looks like a half-eaten Dreamsicle. Yum.

  • Swag

    So your plan to combat drunk driving is to distract drivers by parking this on the side of the road? I don’t see how this could possibly fail.

    • darsasx

      It will be just as effective as the not-moved-in-two-weeks-and-now-the-tires-are-going-flat police vehicles parked across the county

  • huh?

    isn’t this thing really saying that you can either ride home in the back of the taxi cab like a drunk customer or in the front of the police cruiser like a drunk officer of the law? this is just nonsense…

  • Sam the Cat

    when the trolly is built, there will be no need for cabs and you can ride the trolly totally drunk

    • Arlington Cat

      There is a benefit the County Board hasn’t pointed out. You can ride the trolley drunk and save on cab fare; it is a benefit we can all take advantage of.

      Now I am all for the trolley.


    The cops in arlington arent concerned with drunk drivers! they pull over minoriteis non stop and as a white man I’m even sick of it

    • Phil

      Um, yeah . . . no.

  • Alan

    All this did was make the lazy cops in Arlington job easier if they just did their job correctly they could prevent drunk driving without some stupid bull crap taxi/cop car…waste of money smh

  • dm1986

    This is a pretty creative solution to a problem that will never go away.

  • YTK

    It looks lke a good-ole-boy car halfway thru a stage of completion – paint job up front and primer in the back.

  • TJLinBallston

    Mixed messages.

  • JimPB

    Prevent DUI:
    For general public: Have breath analyzers at places that serve alcoholic drinks so patrons can determine their blood alcohol levels before driving.
    (Note: its the legal NOT biology and chemistry that DUI occurs at and above a designated blood alcohol level. The biology and chemistry is that any alcohol impairs coordination and functioning.)

    Apprehend DUI drivers:
    Police monitor patrons leaving places that serve alcoholic drinks for indications of alcohol related impaired functioning. For those who so indicate, follow as they drive off and stop those who driving is impaired, test for alcohol in blood, and arrest as appropriate.

    • ThisAintCuba

      Thanks Fidel. Or is it Vladimir?

    • Bon Air

      Bar patrons would certainly enjoy breathalyzers to play with. “I SCORED HIGHER!!! YEAH”

      The rest of your fantasy would required a police force of 10x what we have, at least.

  • Arlington Native

    I’m tired of people on this site bashing our Police Department.
    You get one of the most professional, progressive and educated agencies in the country.
    The good men and women of this department work extremely hard for its citizens; would you rather live in DC and pay equally comprable taxes for a sub-standard police service?

    Food for thought…

    • That Manager

      Organic food for though.

    • nom de guerre

      You left out proactive, sustainable and VIBRANT.

  • Ted

    Arlington Cops just don’t stop minorities, they seem to have a thing for stopping middle aged white women driving alone.

    • KJ

      As a female, well, I’d rather be pulled over by a male Arlington cop than one in other locations. Just sayin’ there’s a certain aesthetic to the men patrolling our streets. They don’t look like they seem to stop in many donut shops. End of objectifying comments.

  • Thes

    Did we ever find out what happened to this guy? I hope he’s recovering. And what about the drunk driver who hit him?


    • Right of Center

      I was just thinking the same thing.

      • DCBuff

        The half-and-half car, though, wouldn’t have made a difference in this sad case.

  • ronfrom22207

    It really would have made more sense to paint the car different on the driver and passenger sides. That way the rear seat could be half cab-bench, half standard police plastic so you could really get the feel of riding in the back seat of a patrol car.

    • Right of Center

      Either way there will be vomit all over the back seat

      • ronfrom22207

        I also want the cab driver to get out and assist me in getting into the rear seat while protecting my head from bumping the roof.

        • YTK

          Sounds like you’ve seen too many reruns of “Cops”

  • Bon Air

    Sober ride takes hours and hours.

    Just take a cab. If you cannot afford one after your $80 bar tab, then find someone to go home with.

    • DCBuff

      Closing time…you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.

  • GodFila

    That will be one confused whip — it won’t be able to
    decide whether to stop at the donut shop or the kabob house

    • SomeGuy

      Whether to stop at stop signs might be confusing too.


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