A mobile billboard featuring a custom police department patrol car is helping launch an end-of-summer statewide drunk driving crackdown that starts Friday and runs through Labor Day weekend.
In addition to the billboard, officers will drive the actual custom car around town. The back of the car looks like a taxi cab and says: "This Ride About $20." The front looks like a Novi police car and says: "This Ride About $10,150."
"This is the first effort like this in the state," said Novi Police Chief David E. Molloy.
>>See the car and Molloy speaking about it at a press conference Thursday in the video above.
Law enforcement officers from 155 local police departments -- including Northville Township, sheriff offices and Michigan State Police posts in 26 counties will conduct federally funded drunk driving patrols and seat belt enforcement Friday to Sept. 2 as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
"Drunk driving remains a major challenge," said Anne Readett, spokesperson for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, at the press conference in Novi.
The cruiser features a custom taxi cab wrap on half the patrol car that delivers this message for drunk drivers: choose your ride. The idea came from Sergeant Kevin Rhea, who has been with the Novi police department for 20 years. He said he heard, at a training in Lansing, about other states doing this type of campaign and presented the idea to Molloy.
Readett said fatal crashes from drunk driving become more common around Independence Day and continue to go up as the summer continues. She said enforcement accomplishes two things: it's a deterrent and a safety net to protect people on the roads.
The hybrid cruiser will be used for education not enforcement. Molloy said Novi police will share the vehicle with neighboring communities like Farmington Hills. The special enforcement, as well as a few mobile billboards featuring the car, will be throughout the state.
Other participating departments include:
- Clinton Township Police
- Chesterfield Township Police
- St. Clair Shores Police
- Macomb County Sheriff Office
- Utica Police Department
- Shelby Township Police Department
- Farmington Hills
- Troy Police
- Royal Oak
- Bloomfield Township Police
- Canton Township
- Dearborn Police
- Grosse Ile Police Department
- Wyandotte Police Department
- Plymouth Township
- Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety