FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2020
The initiative is critical as the U.S. sees an uptick in risky driving during the COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Lyft have awarded the State Highway Safety Offices in Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas nearly $100,000 in grant funds and Lyft ride credits to support campaigns to help prevent impaired driving this holiday season. Now in its third year, the program encourages individuals who consume alcohol and other impairing substances to use ride-hail, rather than put themselves and others at risk on the road.
The program is even more critical this year, as recently released National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data for the first half of 2020 found that while traffic volume was down significantly, motor vehicle fatalities did not fall at similar rates. Drivers who were on the road during this period were also more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving and not buckling up. NHTSA examined fatal and serious injury data collected at five trauma centers during this same time period and found more than half of drivers tested positive for one active drug, including alcohol, marijuana or opioids.
“This doesn’t bode well for the upcoming holiday season,” said GHSA Senior Director of External Engagement Pam Shadel Fischer and author of the association’s December 2019 report on high-risk impaired drivers. “Particularly when you consider that COVID-19 could result in different transportation patterns or celebration locations. That decision could lead to an increase in impaired driving with the potential for fatal consequences.”
To address the needs of its community, earlier this year Lyft instituted a Health Safety Program that requires both drivers and riders to agree to stay home if they’re sick, wear face coverings, frequently sanitize hands and car surfaces, leave the front seat empty, and keep windows open when possible before riding or driving with Lyft.
“Lyft is dedicated to providing access to reliable and responsible rides, and we're proud to partner with the Governors Highway Safety Association to offer Lyft as an alternative to impaired driving," said Jennifer Brandenburger, Director of Public Policy for Community Safety at Lyft. “Through our Health Safety Program and our partnership with the GHSA, we hope to empower our community with the tools to protect themselves and those around them this holiday season.”
State highway safety offices are leveraging the grant award and Lyft ride credits in the following ways:
- In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is offering the "Gift of Lyft" to residents of Denver, Colorado Springs and Thornton. Those who complete an online pledge to never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs during this holiday season will receive $10 off a Lyft ride in return. The campaign will be promoted on digital media and occur in conjunction with the CDOT’s Holiday Parties and New Year's Eve DUI enforcement periods, which educate the public about law enforcement’s efforts to combat impaired driving.
- The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is collaborating with state and local law enforcement agencies to remind people in Sangamon County, a populous area with limited alternative transportation options, about the availability of Lyft. A special discount code that may be used for Lyft rides between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. will be promoted via IDOT and partner social media channels beginning Thanksgiving weekend, prior to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
- The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NM DOT) will offer discounted Lyft rides with its statewide impaired driving campaign, "ENDWI," to encourage holiday revelers in Las Cruces, the state’s second most populous city and a hot spot for impaired driving, to opt for a responsible ride home. From mid-November through New Year’s Day, NM DOT will conduct a "Winter Superblitz" campaign combining high visibility enforcement with radio, television, social media and outdoor messaging in both English and Spanish.
- The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will partner with Atrium Health, Charlotte Department of Transportation, Vision Zero Coalition, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to encourage people to use Lyft as an alternative to driving after drinking. The effort is part of GHSP’s holiday "Booze It and Lose It" campaign, which will feature discounted Lyft rides, social media marketing and the distribution of campaign "KeysFreeNC" face coverings to Lyft customers, restaurants, bars and grocery stores.
- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will partner with alcohol retailers and law enforcement agencies to promote Lyft rides in the Harris County/Houston area through in-store promotions and officer engagements. TxDOT will also activate its partner network to push out messages via social media to more than 500,000 followers and use paid advertising to amplify the availability of Lyft holiday ride credits.
Updates on state campaign activities funded by these grants will be shared via GHSA’s social media channels throughout the holidays and on the association’s website.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.
Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation and is available to 95 percent of the United States population as well as select cities in Canada. As the world shifts away from car ownership, Lyft is at the forefront of this massive societal change. Lyft is committed to effecting positive change for our cities and making cities more livable for everyone through initiatives that bridge transportation gaps, and by promoting transportation equity through shared rides, bikeshare systems, electric scooters, and public transit partnerships. We are singularly driven by our mission: to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.