Police departments and state and local governments around the country frequently roll out new plans for reducing the incidence of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in their jurisdictions. Usually, these plans involve extra police patrols, DWI checkpoints, or increased penalties for certain acts associated with DWI. Whether measures like this are effective is a matter of intense debate. Evesham Township, New Jersey is taking a different approach. It began a program in September 2015 that offers rides home to people who, after a night out, are not able to drive themselves. Programs like this could be beneficial in New Jersey, where state DWI law prohibits not only operating a vehicle while intoxicated but also, in some cases, permitting an intoxicated person to drive.
Evesham Township’s program began in September as a 30-day pilot program using shuttles and a local designated driver service. In October, the township announced that it was extending the program through the holidays and that it was doing so through a partnership with the ride-sharing company Uber and a designated driver service called BeMyDD. This is reportedly the first program of its kind in the country.
Uber, which is based in San Francisco, connects users with drivers through a mobile app. Its service is reportedly available in at least 300 cities around the world, including many parts of New Jersey. BeMyDD began in Cleveland several years ago and has spread to other U.S. cities. It allows people to essentially hire a driver at an hourly rate to take them to bars, restaurants, and other locations.