On Labor Day, police will be out in force looking for drunken drivers

Cab or cop car?

The choice is yours.

That's the message of the annual Texas Department of Transportation's "Drink. Drive. Go to Jail" campaign under way for Labor Day weekend. Law enforcement officers will be working overtime looking for intoxicated drivers and making arrests, officials said.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, campaign supporters will begin reminding folks at the Fort Worth Stockyards not to drink and drive by putting orange decals on the driver's-side windows of parked cars. The decals say: "WARNING! Law enforcement is patrolling this area. If you drive while intoxicated, you could be arrested."

Nearby will be special "cop cabs," which are half police patrol car and half taxicab. They bear the message "Choose your ride," showing motorists that they could end up in the back of a squad car, organizers said.

Instead, tipsy drivers can call a taxi, designate a sober driver ahead of time, use public transportation, or call a sober friend or relative.

Besides the risk of alcohol-related crashes, a conviction for a first-time DWI offense is costly. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, driver's license suspension for up to a year, and up to six months in jail. And related expenses such as bail, legal fees, court-ordered classes and higher car insurance premiums can total more than $17,000, according to a Transportation Department news release.

"By comparison, a cab ride doesn't seem very expensive at all," said Val Lopez, a Transportation Department spokesman. "People have to take responsibility for their actions."

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326