"Choose Your Ride" car works to prevent against drunk driving

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) - Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While this may not be a new statistic there is a new squad car the Wisconsin State Patrol is using to fight it.

From behind it looks like your average taxi and from the front, like a state patrol car that could pull your over.

"People ask well is this a state patrol car or is it a taxi. I say well its both,” says Trooper Lynn Coulson.

The program’s called Choose Your Ride and the cars’ purpose is to get you thinking about drinking and driving.

Coulson says, "We want them to compare the costs between simply getting in a taxi or getting a designated drive versus being arrested for an OWI which is obviously more expensive."

If you choose to go the taxi route, it can cost about 20 dollars. But, if you get an OWI that’s a $1,000 fine, the loss of a license and possible jail time.

"In 2012, over 200 people were killed in alcohol related crashes and the big tragedy is they all could have been prevented simply by being proactive and thinking before getting behind the wheel, explains Coulson.

Now this vehicle isn't meant to trick you on the road since it's not a working police car. But it did trick one car who passed us on a one-lane highway.

"Obviously he didn’t think this was a state patrol cruiser, because it’s yellow in the back,” says Lynn.

It's used as advertising for drivers and it's proven to work. This year it won a silver Addy for public service, a national award from the American Advertising Federation.

"Sometimes people don't think they're impaired. In fact, if you feel buzzed, in many cases you're at .08 or higher,” says Coulson.

So the next time you leave a bar save a life and choose your ride.


An unusual car is cruising around Eau Claire, raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

The award winning "Choose Your Ride" cop car-taxi mix has been in the area the last couple of days.

Most recently, the car won a Silver Addy for getting Second Place in Public Service Advertising, that's in addition to a number of other national awards.

Captain Jeffrey Frenette, with the Wisconsin State Patrol, says he hopes it will motivate people to make rational decisions after having a few drinks.

"With alcohol related crashes, we still see that with our fatals over 40% still involve alcohol and we want to remind people that with this particular tool they do have alternatives not to change the lives and the lives of other in a tragic way but to make some logical rational decisions," explains Frenette.

The car is a high mileage cruiser that couldn't be used for patrolling anymore by the state troopers, so it was transformed last year.

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