Programs offer discounted rides to help keep drunk drivers off DC-area roads

From March Madness celebrations to St. Patrick’s Day festivities, it’ll be a wild weekend in the D.C. area, and there are a few programs offering discounted rides to help keep drunk drivers off the roads.

Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, said that drivers should be just as cautious as they would be on New Year’s Eve.

Nationwide, 45% of all traffic deaths this weekend will be a result of drunk driving; in the D.C. metro area, that number is 25%.

“Still far too many,” stressed Erickson. “Still one out of four.”

He said his organization is offering an alternative to anyone who shouldn’t be behind the wheel through their Sober Rider Program. Lyft is offering a $15.00 credit through the program. Almost 85,000 people have participated since it began 32 years ago.

It’ll be in operation at 4 p.m. Friday and will run until 4 a.m. Saturday. “We always anticipate a higher level of ridership,” added Erickson. “The program is only as good as the number of people that use it.”

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office is also offering $15 credits today and tomorrow.

Anyone heading out this weekend that may not be drinking, taking steps to fight drunk driving could still help make a difference. If you see someone driving impaired, call 911 in the District or Maryland or call 77 in Virginia.

It’s also important to wear your seatbelt, an effective measure that could reduce death. “Buckle up,” added Erickson. “It could be a lifesaving move.”

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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