Cuyahoga County DUI Task Force, Local Police Agencies, and Ace Taxi Join Forces to Get Impaired Drivers Off Our Roadways
Nearly 7,000 alcohol-related crashes have taken place in Cuyahoga County over the past five years, resulting in 137 deaths and nearly 4,500 injuries. Because 2 of every 5 motor vehicle fatalities in our county from 2003-2007 was alcohol-related, finding innovative ways to keep impaired drivers off our roadways is a key step in improving traffic safety. University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the Cuyahoga County DUI Reduction Task Force, Ace Taxi, and the Historic Warehouse District Corporation are launching a creative new partnership aimed at finding and removing impaired drivers from our roads and preventing those who have had too much to drink from getting behind the wheel in the first place. This novel partnership brings together law enforcement, bar and restaurant owners, and cab drivers in working together to tackle our community’s impaired driving problem and send the message that it is never okay to drive drunk.
This unique effort combines heightened law enforcement with local-level problem solving strategies to address an important community problem. As the Cuyahoga County DUI Reduction Task Force launches its fall Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. campaign this weekend, which runs from August 15 through Labor Day, Ace Taxi will be rolling out its new Taxis on Patrol for Safety (TOPS) initiative. Task Force members are providing special training to help Ace Taxi drivers recognize the cues for impaired drivers. Cab drivers will be on the lookout for those cues and will call their dispatchers to report any incidents they observe. Dispatchers are also receiving special training on how to correctly record and report incidents to the appropriate local public safety agency.
“We’re excited to be part of this groundbreaking effort in Cleveland,” said Devo Bavishi, President of Ace Taxi. “Cab drivers are in all parts of the county at all times of the day and night and they can effectively double the eyes of police on the street. The Taxis on Patrol for Safety program is essentially a ‘neighborhood watch on wheels’ program that can make a big difference in getting dangerous drivers off the streets before they hurt themselves or someone else.”
Local police agencies are looking forward to the extra help in spotting impaired drivers. “Heightened law enforcement efforts kicking off Operation Wolf Pack in support of the national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown will combine 16 DUI checkpoints and hundreds of hours of targeted patrols by police departments throughout the region to let motorists know that it doesn’t matter where you go in the county—police officers everywhere will be on the lookout for impaired drivers,” noted Lt. Robert Stitt of the Cleveland Police Department, speaking on behalf of the DUI Task Force. “Through the TOPS program, law enforcement will benefit from the added watchful eyes of taxicab drivers on our streets and the Greater Cleveland community will benefit from a safer environment.”
As an added incentive to those who visit the Warehouse District over the Labor Day weekend, Ace Taxi is joining with the Historic Warehouse District Corporation, ClearChannel Radio, Eagle Advertising and House of LaRose to offer a “Safe Rides” program to provide free cab rides to Warehouse District bar and restaurant patrons who are impaired, as an alternative to getting behind the wheel. "This is another example of the benefit of our Responsible Hospitality Initiative here in the Warehouse District. When stakeholders with various and competing individual interests work together for a common purpose, it greatly improves our community as a whole," explained Dave Gonsior, Membership, Marketing & Special Projects Coordinator of the Historic Warehouse District Corporation.
So keep in mind as you plan your weekend and Labor Day festivities—the police will be out in force looking for impaired drivers, with the help of taxicab drivers throughout the county. Plan ahead for a safe ride home by using a designated driver, taking public transportation, or calling (1-800-Taxicab) for a cab.
The Cuyahoga County DUI Reduction Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional coalition of 45 law enforcement agencies throughout the county that work together collaboratively to make our roadways safer by combating impaired and aggressive driving. The Task Force is led by the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center, which also serves as lead agency for the Greater Cleveland Safe Kids/Safe Communities Coalition.