New Hampton police cruiser targets driving under the influence

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton police have a new ride, and it’s one that doesn’t look like a traditional cop car. That’s because they want it to serve as a visual public service reminder.

Police say they hope the bright and somewhat unusual looking car will encourage people to not drive under the influence.

Hampton police Sergeant Matt Bond said, “It’s an eye-catcher, it makes you stop and think ‘What is that?'”

Bond says the warmer weather brings more opportunities for people to get behind the wheel while under the influence.

“We see a big influx of more alcohol consumption obviously with the beach parties, block parties, back yard BBQs, pool parties,” said Bond. “And with the excess of alcohol consumption, we also see more drunk driving-related incidents.”

According to the U.S Department of Transportation, across the country someone dies from an alcohol-related incident every 53 minutes.

“That’s just way too many lives being lost to something that could be very easily resolved,” Bond said.

The car was an actual taxi cab, given to Hampton Police by Yellow Cab of Hampton. They say safety is one of their top priorities. A few years back, they did a similar thing with Hampton University police.

Frank Azzalina, a spokesman for Yellow Cab of Hampton, said, “It really sinks in, it’s maybe subliminal. It sits in the back of your mind that there are choices when you have a little bit too much to drink.”

The car is also informative, showing the different costs associated with each decision: $15 for a cab ride verses upwards of $8,100 for a DUI charge.

“We’re hoping that something like this that can be rolling or also parked outside of an event will give that extra thought to someone before they actually get behind the wheel and drive intoxicated or even buzzed driving,” Bond said.

Police say right now, they don’t have plans for someone to drive it regularly, but the car will make appearances at different events in the city.