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Published: Saturday, 12/29/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Programs aim to offer safe rides to revelers on New Year's eve

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FINDLAY — Having a designated driver is a smart way to ring in the New Year. But there are other options for making it home safely if you’ve had too much to drink.

Findlay’s Safe Ride Home Program recently purchased a transport van that will be used to provide free rides home for those who may have had too much to drink on New Year’s Eve. The service, available to Hancock County residents, will operate between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.

The service is operated through Dick’s Towing, which will also tow revelers’ vehicles home at no charge. Dick’s Towing can be contacted at 419-425-3908 or 419-424-1733.

The Safe Ride Home Program was started in 2003 as a way to encourage people not to drink and drive, said Mike Cortez, a sergeant with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and president of Safe Ride Home. He spearheaded the program after observing that law-enforcement efforts weren’t stopping people from getting behind the wheel drunk. Safe Ride Home is a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 1,500 free rides since 2003.

“I've seen the tragedy that comes with drinking and driving” said Mr. Cortez, who has been with the sheriff’s department for 19 years. “If we can get someone to try us just once, than maybe they’ll continue to use us.”

In Toledo, ABCO services will again offer free rides and tows to those who may have had too much to drink. Rides and tows will be available from 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 3 a.m. New Year’s Day. For service call 419-536-6123.

Black and White Cab will also be open for business. Riders will have to pay for the cab ride and for someone to drive their cars. For a ride call 419-536-TAXI.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, two to three times more people die in alcohol-related crashes during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during comparable periods the rest of the year.

Forty percent of traffic fatalities during these holidays involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired, compared with 28 percent for the rest of the year.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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