Bartenders Step Up to Prevent DWI

T-shirts give "in your face" reminder of taxi dispatch phone number

A New Year's Eve program intended to keep you from getting behind the wheel is starting behind the bar.

Carol Wooden and her husband began a local chapter of Bartenders Against Drunk Driving in 2010 after setting up their JC Bartending Academy in Plano.

"We're OK with drinking," she said. "We're OK with having fun. It's just making sure that people are responsible and the afterthought of ensuring they have the safe ride home is not an afterthought."

This year, the Woodens have handed out T-shirts to bartenders at 20 bars and restaurants in North Dallas and Collin County. The New Year's Eve shirts have 1-800-TAXI-CAB printed on the back as a subtle reminder to patrons about how to get home safely.

"As the bartender turns around to make the drink, it might just trigger in their mind, 'Hey, I need to make sure I have a ride home," Wooden said.

BADD has also passed out hundreds of "safe cards" that also bear the number for the taxi conglomerate, a partnership between dispatches that sends out the closest taxicab so callers aren't kept waiting.

Plano police are also using an attention-grabbing technique this season.

The weekend before New Year's, the department rolled out a Choose Your Ride campaign, featuring a Plano police cruiser wrapped in taxicab yellow on its back half.

"We want to grab people's attention," Plano police spokesman Officer David Tilley. "Maybe [if] they've had a little too much to drink, they'll see this and it will be a reminder."

The Choose Your Ride car will likely be posted around The Shops at Legacy in Plano for New Year's Eve.

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