New Jersey town offering free Uber rides to prevent drunken driving

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

N.J. Township Gives Free Uber Rides to Reduce DUIs.

A New Jersey town on track for a record-breaking number of drunken driving cases has become the first U.S. municipality to partner with ride service app Uber to keep inebriated residents from getting behind the wheel. In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC updated its fact page about impaired driving — and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that 30 drivers die daily on the road due to driving under influence or what we call DUI here in the United States.

To keep the roads safe in Evesham Township, a town of 45,000 people in southern New Jersey, anyone drinking in at least 19 alcohol-serving establishments can now get a free ride home from Uber in a program funded by donors and started last week. Donations from area nonprofits and businesses are also funding a second free ride option that started on Friday: the mobile app BeMyDD, through which people can hire a driver to get both them and their car home. “We’re dealing with people who might’ve had too much to drink, so we needed to make it so easy for them to open their iPhone and push a button,” Evesham Mayor Randy Brown said. The pilot program provided free rides to more than 350 people, which is great, considering Evesham was on the brink of hitting 250 DUI arrests in 2015 – a record-high for the town. Whitney Beall, 23, a resident of Lakeland, Florida, has got the attention of the police after numerous 911 calls have reported her “live DUI” on Periscope.

The free ride from Uber can be requested by the inebriated residents of Evesham Township when they find themselves at one of 19 bars and restaurants in the area. Speaking of road accidents due to smartphone use, in a separate study in August, the National Safety Council announced more deaths on roads, up by 14 percent due to smartphone use. The shuttles helped decrease DUI arrests to eight in September from a monthly average of 23 from January to August, a drop of 65 per cent, Brown said. According to a report, New Jersey’s Evesham Township was going to reach about 250 DUIs arrest in this year alone, topping all the records of DUIs arrests in that township and this led the municipality to take some ground shaking measures. A report from Reuters on Friday revealed that a small town in New Jersey, with a population of nearly 45,000 according to United States Census Bureau, has partnered with Uber to provide free ride for drunk residents.

In consequence, the municipality has partnered up with Uber since September which has in turn reduced the DUIs arrests from 23 to 8 a month, evidently showing the success of the decision. The partnership with both apps runs through Jan. 2. “We began working with Mayor Brown through our national partner, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and realized it was the perfect opportunity to use our technology to help take drunk drivers off the road,” Ana Mahony, general manager for Uber New Jersey, said in a statement. Alexa Milkovich, vice president of marketing for BeMyDD, said the company recruited drivers quickly to make sure the area would have enough to meet demand. However, it’s been so successful, that a few local businesses and nonprofits have donated funds to support a second, similar program that kicked off this Friday. Adacia Chambers, 25, was reportedly fired from her part-time job at Stillwater’s Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, leaving the fast food franchise in tears, witness Justin Denoya told the Stillwater News Press.

He recalled seeing Chambers leave the restaurant shortly before she allegedly drove into the packed homecoming parade, killing four people, including a toddler, and injuring more than 40. Citing the data from 2009 to 2014 in the state of California where Silicon Valley is located, researchers at Temple University said the rise of the ride-sharing app has reduced DUI deaths — depending on the service used. She has been charged with driving under the influence, but police have not released any detail about her alleged intoxication. “My heart goes out to those people and all of them who are injured.

The program makes rides available in participating bars between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. seven days a week, and will continue until January 2, at which point the town will perform a re-evaluation. Based on the number of DUIs across the nation, the study suggested that the Uber X service alone could save 500 lives per year, and the nation’s economy would save $1.3 billion. Interestingly, the research also claims that there was no evidence that non-alcohol-related road accidents rose in places covered by the ride-sharing service.

Its proposition is that it deploys two people when you request a ride home: one to drive you home in your own vehicle, and another to pick up the driver once you arrive home. Uber is also considering expanding to other towns, according to Reuters, so it will be interesting to see the overall impact of a service that some may argue rewards alcoholism.

But not all groups are convinced that Uber is the best solution to reduce DUIs — including some experts saying that “proper education” is still the best way to reduce alcohol-linked road accidents. What she did in the half hour before the 10:30 a.m. crash remains unclear. “She was always on time,” franchise owner Mark Thompson told the Press. “I have nothing to say about her that isn’t good. Some rumor suggests, The American transportation company is planning in partnership with other municipalities to bring a similar kind of program in their location.

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