Several small South Jersey towns have come up with a novel new idea to help reduce drunk driving – they have partnered with Uber to provide free rides home from select bars to destinations within the town. It has yet to be seen how successful the programs will be, but town officials believe that if the program can even save one life, it can be considered a huge success.
Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, the program has only been rolled out in Washington Township, Evesham, and Voorhees, in Gloucester County, Burlington County, and Camden County, respectively. Since there are over 560 other municipalities in the state of New Jersey that do no participate in any such program, other drivers in the state will need to continue to be careful when drinking in public, because even one drink can be the difference between driving legally and being convicted with driving while intoxicated. As always, we at the Edward M. Janzekovich believe that the best advice is to never drink and drive. However, if you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI or DWI, you should contact a good attorney as soon as possible.
How the New Program Works
The new programs involve a partnership between the towns, Uber – a ridesharing program similar to a taxi service, and local bars enrolled in the program. For instance, in Washington Township, any resident who goes to one of the sixteen restaurants and bars involved in the program can use the Uber app to call a car and get a free ride to any location in town. The rides must originate at one of those bars and riders can only travel within city or town limits, so the program primarily benefits the residents of those towns. The free rides also are restricted to certain times and days of the week, and riders must request an UberX. When a person wants to take advantage of the program, and he or she opens up the app in one of the available locations, the upfront fare will display as $0, and the app may list the option as part of the safe rides program.
Washington Township started the program this past St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, while Evesham and Voorhees started the programs in late 2015. The programs are completely funded through private donations and local contributions, as opposed to taxpayer money.
So far, the programs in Voorhees and Evesham have been considered a success. According to the Evesham Township Mayor, Randy Brown, over 6,000 riders have taken advantage of the program, and there has been an 80 percent decrease in the number of drunken driving arrests.
While “free taxi” programs have previously existed in some form or other in many states including New Jersey, the programs generally took advantage of travel vouchers that worked with local taxi companies. The new programs in Voorhees, Evesham, and Washington Township are considered the first of their kind to partner with Uber – the ridesharing company that was founded in 2009 and has taken the country by storm.
Washington Township, which had 114 DUI arrests in 2017, is hoping for similar results to Evesham and Voorhees.
If these programs continue to be successful in South Jersey, you can expect that other townships will soon follow suit across the state and the country. Until that time however, the best advice is to always plan to have a way home from bars and restaurants where you plan to be drinking. If you cannot find a designated driver, the expense of getting a cab, Uber, or Lyft can be significantly less than the fines, penalties, and possible jail time associated with a conviction for drunk driving.
New Jersey DWI/ DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Is Always Ready to Help Those Arrest for Drunk Driving
A conviction for drinking and driving can have serious effects on your family and livelihood. If you have already been arrested, charged, or convicted of driving while intoxicated, you will need an experienced attorney to help fight or appeal the charges against you. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the State of New Jersey.