‘Ghost Cars’ Coming to Haunt North Carolina’s Impaired Drivers

One of the new "ghost cars."

One of the new "ghost cars." North Carolina State Highway Patrol / Facebook

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

State Highway Patrol officers have a new low-key weapon for drunk-driving enforcement.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol on Friday unveiled a new stealth weapon in the fight against drunk drivers: a discreetly marked, glow-in-the-dark “ghost” patrol car.

The ghost car, a Dodge Charger, has the same specs as the patrol’s regular marked and unmarked Chargers, including a V-8 engine and all-wheel drive, The News & Observer reports.

The car also sports the same markings as a regular patrol car—including “STATE TROOPER” emblazoned on the hood in all caps—but in a reflective, dark grey against a black background that’s less visible in daylight.

At night it may be easier to spot the graphics, as they do, of course, glow in the dark.

“A ghost patrol car has the exact same markings as our traditional patrol car, but they have a low profile, and they glow in the dark at night,” said Col. G.M. McNeill Jr. “The patrol plans to deploy one of these vehicles in each of our eight troops.”

The first ghost car went to Vance County Trooper J.A. Thomas as a reward for leading the state in DWI enforcements and arrests over a four-year period.

“I love it. It’s a nice ride,” Thomas said. “This car is a reward, but knowing that if I went out there and saved one life is a greater reward in the community.”

The highway patrol unmasked the ghost in a dramatic, operatic Facebook video featuring close-ups of different facets of the car. The cinematic debut closed with warning:

“Drunk drivers beware the ghost car.”

Ghost cars are used in municipalities across the country, including Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania, parts of Louisiana and in northwest Florida.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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