When you’re quickly approaching a record number of drunk driving cases, you have to get creative in your solution. And that’s exactly what Evesham, New Jersey is doing by way of the town’s partnership with Uber that gives individuals who’ve had a few too many a free ride home. The township, whose small population of 45,000 clearly likes to party, is the first in the U.S. to make use of the ride-sharing app to curtail the incidence of drunk driving. While this approach may not work for a New York City, it may turn out to be workable for a number of other small communities looking to leverage technology for the safety of their residents.
Funded entirely by local nonprofits and businesses, Evesham clearly embodies the “love thy neighbor” ideal, and so far, things are looking up. When the community piloted the program in September by using a free shuttle program, it saw a 65 percent drop in the number of drunk driving arrests. More than 350 people participated in this program, and Evesham is hoping that the Uber partnership will convince even more people to stay off the roads if they’ve been drinking.
“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 explained of the idea to partner with Uber. So now, at any one of the 19 bars and restaurants that have chosen to participate, patrons can get a free ride from 9 pm to 2 am any day of the week.
In addition to the Uber partnership, Evesham is funding a second option — app BeMyDD, which will not only get you home, but your car as well.
Both these collaborations will be available until January 2. At that point, all the parties involved will assess the effects the program has had on the overall rates of drunk driving incidents. So who knows — maybe Uber for drunk people will be coming to a town near you.