Local Bars Say You Can Get a Ride Home for Free to Prevent Drunk Driving

Local News

It’s the holiday season and that means you might be going to a holiday party or just getting together with friends and family to celebrate.    

But if your celebration includes alcohol, local bars and law enforcement are reminding you not to drink and drive.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says more than 28,000 people in the state were arrested for drunk driving in 2015 not to mention an average of 29 people die a day in the U.S. due to drunk driving incidents in December alone.

The song says have a holly jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year – but maybe not if you’ve had one too many beers.

“People just need to take the couple extra seconds and decide whether to take an Uber or lyft, a taxi or designated driver,” Green Bay Police Department Captain Kevin Warych. “Making those small decisions will keep everyone on the roadways safe.”

Thanks to a program that’s been around for years you can have your drinks and get home too.

“You’re able to fill out a voucher to give someone a free ride home and they’re not drinking and driving and they’re able to come back to your place the next day,” says Richard Craniums owner and Tavern League member Don Mjelde.

More than 40 bars in the Green Bay area utilize what’s called the SafeRide program.

Taverns like Richard Craniums have partnered with Lyft to get patrons home at no cost to them.

Or they’ll just call a cab.

It’s paid for by the Tavern League of Wisconsin and surcharges from OWI convictions.

Last year the program served 91,000 people.

“It really feels great when they come in the morning and I see a lot of vehicles in my parking lot, that means that they were safe and responsible going out, but what we tell people this holiday season is to leave the keys at home,” says Mjelde. “Find ulterior means to go out so that you don’t have that false sense of security in your pocket and you’re able to celebrate responsibly, but also get home safely.”

SafeRide in Brown county increased use 103 percent in the past year and alcohol-related fatalities are down something this area is all too familiar with.

“I often reference that 2016 crash on Packerland Drive where the parents were coming home, they were hit by a drunk driver and killed,” says Warych. “We don’t want that to replicate or ever happen again in the city of Green Bay. Because look at that family. That family has to live with that for the rest of their lives.”

So before you go out this holiday season make sure to secure a safe ride.

“Be sure to ask your local tavern if they’re a tavern league member and if they participate in the SafeRide program so you can look forward to using those vouchers to get home when you need to.”

SafeRide is found in 62 counties in the state.

Last year the program cost almost $1 million.

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