Lyft will offer free rides up to $15 next weekend to curb drunk driving as Arlington sees an uptick in alcohol-related crashes.
Organized by the Tysons-based nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the initiative, known as SoberRide, aims to prevent drunk driving during holidays, such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve when such behavior is more common.
Arlington saw two DUI arrests and three alcohol-related crashes over the last three Halloween weekends, according to data provided by ACPD.
Looking beyond Halloween, alcohol-related crashes have nearly doubled overall since 2020, surging from 96 to 172 in 2022, according to ACPD. DUI arrests have followed a similar trend, nearly doubling from 269 in 2020 to 425 in 2022.
Nationwide, drunk driving-related crashes on Halloween night claimed the lives of 159 people between 2017 and 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just over half of those fatalities, 55%, involved adults ages 21-34.
WRAP, which previously partnered with Red Top Cab of Arlington and other taxi companies, has partnered with Lyft since 2017 to combat those statistics.
Those interested in a free ride can enter a forthcoming promotional code into Lyft’s “Payment” tab. The code, for use only to those 21 and older, will be published on WRAP’s website at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. The code is valid from 4 p.m. on Saturday until 4 a.m. on Sunday.
The nonprofit will offer a minimum of 1,500 rides this Halloween, WRAP President Kurt Erickson tells ARLnow.
He noted that 943 people used the SoberRide code last Halloween, which is the second-highest number of people to use the code in the program’s history.
SoberRide saw its highest usage for Halloween 2019, when more than 1,200 people used the code to get a free ride.
The Arlington County Police Department, meanwhile, will be hosting a Halloween anti-drunk driving event on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Blvd. The event will highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills.
Join ACPD and @WRAP_org on Saturday, Oct. 28 for an interactive Halloween Anti-Drunk Driving Event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. Starting at 8 p.m., see why a sober ride is the ultimate accessory to your costume. Additional details: https://t.co/loATGZoN3x pic.twitter.com/5VI1DCuoQ7
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) October 16, 2023
N. Hudson Street between Wilson Blvd and 13th Street N. will be closed from approximately 6-11 p.m. for the event, according to an ACPD press release, excerpted below.
Celebrate with a Plan
Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations – if you plan to drink, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2023 Halloween SoberRide® program is offering free rides home, in partnership with Lyft, from 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 until 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 29.
- If you see a suspected impaired driver on the roadway, report to your local law enforcement. To report a suspected impaired driver in Arlington County, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit the NHTSA website.
N. Hudson Street between Wilson Boulevard and 13th Street N. will be closed from approximately 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. to accommodate this event.
Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs in the area. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
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