FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2021
With traffic fatalities on the rise during the pandemic, this program comes at a critical time
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in partnership with Uber, has awarded the Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico and Texas State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) a total of $95,000 in grant funds and Uber ride credits to support initiatives to help prevent impaired driving this holiday season. Now in its fourth year, the program encourages people who consume alcohol or other impairing substances to use ride-hailing instead of putting themselves and others on the road at risk by getting behind the wheel.
These impaired driving prevention grants come at a critical time. Not only is the holiday season an especially deadly time on the nation’s roads, but the danger is even higher this year. Traffic deaths are increasing at an unprecedented rate – surging nearly 20% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2020. Drunk and drug-impaired driving increased during the pandemic and as parties and gatherings resume, there are even more opportunities for impaired driving this holiday season.
“There are already too many families that will have empty chairs at their holiday dinner tables this year because of the pandemic,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “It’s tragic and frustrating to see even more lives lost on our roads from completely preventable drunk and drug-impaired driving crashes. GHSA is proud to partner with Uber to help states provide people a safe and convenient alternative to driving impaired.”
Ride-hailing services have been shown to reduce crash and impaired driving rates by offering an alternative to getting behind the wheel impaired. An independent, peer-reviewed study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that after Uber entered the Houston market in 2014, weekend motor vehicle crash traumas decreased by 38.9% for people under 30, an age group more likely to drive impaired. The analysis also found that DUI arrests decreased across the board after Uber’s arrival, with the greatest reduction on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“We are proud that our technology and the drivers using our platform are able to provide a stress-free alternative to drinking and driving this holiday season. Through our partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association to award states with Uber ride credits, we hope to give people greater access to transportation so that there is no excuse to get behind the wheel while impaired,” said Kristin Smith, Head of Road Safety Policy at Uber.
“As recent studies have shown, Uber can help reduce alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities and it is more important than ever to provide people with more options so they can plan ahead, make better choices and avoid drinking and driving,” Smith added.
State highway safety offices will use the grant funds and Uber ride credits in the following ways:
- The Colorado Department of Transportation will urge people hosting holiday gatherings to be the “Ultimate Party Host” by providing Uber credits and easy ways to share them with their guests, so they get home safely. The state will promote the campaign at local liquor stores in Denver and El Paso counties, which are among the highest in the state for DUI citations.
- In Connecticut, the Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office will complement a significant enforcement and English and Spanish public outreach campaign with the "Save the Night CT" program, which will offer residents discounted Uber rides as a reward for choosing not to get behind the wheel impaired. The state will promote this message on social media to 18-34-year-olds, as well as at various locations across the state including bars and restaurants, concert venues, arenas, and stadiums – reaching a large audience in locations where alcohol is frequently consumed.
- The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office will use a comprehensive statewide campaign as a call to action for drivers to plan ahead to ensure they have a sober ride home. The “Be the Make a Plan Driver” initiative will provide $10 Uber ride discounts to all Marylanders starting November 24, 2021 through January 1, 2022.
- The New Mexico Department of Transportation will offer Uber ride credits through its statewide impaired driving campaign, “ENDWI,” to incentivize holiday party attendees to opt for a responsible ride home. From mid-November through New Year’s Day, the state will conduct a “Winter Superblitz” campaign combining high visibility enforcement with radio, television, social media and outdoor messaging in both English and Spanish.
- The Texas Department of Transportation will supplement high visibility enforcement by partnering with alcohol retailers to promote Uber rides in the Harris County/Houston area, which has the highest concentration of impaired driving fatalities in the state. As part of its multi-pronged statewide campaign, “Ride Sober. No Regrets.,” the state will also activate its partner network on social media to amplify the availability of Uber holiday ride credits. The goal is to reach more than 500,000 people.
GHSA will share updates on state campaign activities funded by these grants on the association’s website and social media channels throughout the holidays.
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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. Visit ghsa.org for more information or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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