Description of Strategy
Safe Ride Programs are designed to decrease drinking and driving by providing free rides home for those who contact the program. They mostly operate at periods of high use or need, like evenings and weekends. By providing free rides, they may also impact the consequences of binge drinking beyond motor vehicle crashes. For example, alcohol related crime could decrease with individuals safely and quickly returning home. Programs attempt to respond very quickly to those in need of a ride, and some programs actually provide transportation back to vehicle the next day. Recently, these programs have been impacted by the emergence of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Some municipalities and universities have found ridesharing services can more easily respond to needs and are more economical. These programs may also go beyond the goal of decreasing drinking and driving to provide people (often college students) a safe means of transportation away from any uncomfortable, inconvenient, or dangerous situation.
Discussion of Effectiveness
Overall, there is little research on Safe Ride Programs, and most studies were conducted prior to the rise of ridesharing services. There are no systematic reviews or meta analyses on the effectiveness of these programs, and most studies involved university programs. One study found a university Safe Ride Program was not associated with increased alcohol consumption or higher BAC levels, but it was associated with a 14% reduction in crime (Gieck & Slagle, 2010).