Alert a bartender, and receive a free ride home on New Year’s Eve via the “SafeRide” program

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SafeRide program

MILWAUKEE — Customers at nearly 100 restaurants and taverns in Milwaukee County can assure themselves a safe trip home on New Year’s Eve via the SafeRide program, a free transportation service offered by the Milwaukee County Hospitality Association.

Simply by alerting a bartender, server or other wait staff, a customer will be given a voucher good for a free ride home. The participating establishment will call a taxi or other private transportation service to provide the ride. The customer need only sit back, relax, and know that they made the right decision to not take chances. SafeRide is available year-round.

“The SafeRide program’s goal is to improve safety on our roads by offering an easy alternative for people to get home,” said Lorie Helm, President of the MCHA, a chapter of the Tavern League of Wisconsin. “If a person is unsure whether to drive or not, we want to make it an easy decision to err on the side of safety.”

Participating businesses in the SafeRide program will have on-premise signage highlighting availability of the service. The SafeRide voucher is for $25, with $2 built in as a driver tip;the user pays for any fare above $23, and is also encouraged to add a driver gratuity.

“Those who engage in the irresponsible and dangerous behavior of drinking too much alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of an automobile pose a serious threat to the safety of all motorists,” said Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. “Drunk driving is not a mistake. People make a decision to drink too much alcohol and then drive. Drunk driving is a preventable crime.”

Clarke advised those going out on New Year’s to have a plan before anyone begins drinking: 1) Choose a sober, valid-licensed designated driver; 2) Call for a taxi or take advantage of free bus rides; 3) Make use of the SafeRide program available at participating taverns and restaurants.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is adding SafeRide decals to its new marked vehicle setups. Its patrol vehicles have sported the decal in prior years as a reminder about the program.

More than 82,000 people used the SafeRide program statewide in 2014, helping prevent an untold number of potential accidents and suffering. The program is paid for by surcharges connected to drunken driving convictions, and funds raised by local tavern leagues.