Police agencies encourage sober rides New Year’s Eve

WASHINGTON — The cops want you to know they’ll be on the roads targeting drunk drivers this weekend and through New Year’s Eve.

Checkpoint Strikeforce is an annual program run by law enforcement agencies that targets drunken drivers on the road during the holiday season. This year’s campaign is called, “Act Like It,” encouraging New Year’s revelers to act their age.

“We encourage residents to get a safe ride home and to know that we’ll be out there to apprehend those who don’t,” said Douglas Goodman, Ashland police chief and president of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

To stay safe this New Year’s, Checkpoint Strikeforce recommends D.C.’s SoberRide program, which began partnering with Lyft last year. At noon on Dec. 31, SoberRide will post a promo code to their website that can be redeemed for up to $15 off a ride taken with Lyft between 8 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 4 a.m. Jan 1.

Last New Year’s Eve, the program completed “over 1,200 rides just in the eight hours of offering the free safe ride service,” said Kurt Erickson, the head of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.

Last year’s partnership with Lyft resulted in a 111 percent ridership increase from the previous year, when the program offered discounts for local cab fares.

“[Riders] are able to engage that app … [they] know exactly when their driver will be there, how many minutes it’ll be, what their driver’s name is, and so forth, and have a cashless exchange,” said Erickson.

Even if your trip home exceeds the $15 redeemable value, you’re still able to pay the rest of the balance through your Lyft app. Erickson said it’s proven far more convenient for people who have been drinking.

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