Editorial: Make a Plan, Talk About It

Editorial: Make a Plan, Talk About It

Here is help in keeping impaired drivers off the roads.

The holiday party season is upon us, and with it an increase in drinking and driving. It’s up to you to make a plan to get home safely.

Plan to bring a designated driver. Plan to take public transportation. Plan to celebrate at home or someplace where you can spend the night. Plan to abstain.

And if all of that fails, the Washington Regional Alcohol Project has a safety net for you.

WRAP, a local nonprofit organization, will offer free cab rides to would-be drunk drivers throughout Northern Virginia during the winter holidays.

More than 10,000 people died in drunk driving related accidents in 2012, including more than 200 in Virginia and 160 in Maryland. Tens of thousands more were injured. Holidays lead to an increase in impaired driving, the Christmas and New Year season in particular.

The annual Holiday SoberRide program will operate nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, and continuing until Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk, holiday period.

During these times, area residents celebrating with alcohol can call the toll-free SoberRide phone number 1-800-200-TAXI for a no-cost (up to $30 fare), safe way home. Callers will be responsible for fare amounts over $30.

Since 1993, WRAP’s SoberRide program has provided more than 61,000 free cab rides home to would-be drunk drivers in the Greater Washington area.

Safe Ride Home

WRAP's 2014 Holiday SoberRide program will be offered from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly from Dec. 12, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015. To receive a free cab ride home (up to a $30 fare), call 800-200-8294 (TAXI). See SoberRide.com information listed below for important details concerning this program.

We know that many young people over 21 are living at home with parents, or will be visiting for the holidays. Parents, be brave. Have a conversation with your children whether they are under or over 21. Be sure those over 21 have a plan, and are equipped with the SoberRide number.

SoberRide is not available for underage drinkers, but parents still should talk to their children about their plans, and tell them out loud that you expect them not to drive impaired and not to get into a car with an impaired driver. Tell them to call you, and you’ll come get them if necessary. The news has been full of teachable moments about the consequences and vulnerabilities of drinking to excess, drinking and driving and beyond. Don’t let the opportunity to talk about it pass you by.