Free Ride Home combats drunk driving through New Year’s

While many people will be out partying and drinking on to celebrate the new year, Bradford Health Services is working to make the roads safer with its annual Free Ride Home program.

Since Sunday, Dec. 24, Rachel Lawley with Bradford Health Services said the organization has been partnering with Birmingham to give people who are too inebriated a way to get home, free of charge. The services will continue through Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 for any adult over the age of 21.

“Our goal is to be a resource for the community,” Lawley said.

According to Lawley, the service is there to take people directly home and the destination must be within a 30-mile radius of the person’s current location.

“We won’t take you to another bar or a restaurant. We’ll only take you to a residence,” Lawley said. “All you have to do is call the office. We’ll take a little bit of your information and come and pick you up.”

Since the program started years ago, Lawley said plenty of residents have called for a ride. She said Bradford Health Services gives information to bars and restaurants to pass along to patrons who need it.

“Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol appreciate our service,” Lawley said. “We give them our cards, and they give them out to patrons as they leave.”

According to Lawley, drunk driving happens frequently, especially during the holidays. Last year, there were a total of 279 alcohol-related fatalities in Alabama. Through programs like Free Ride Home, Lawley said she hopes to see that number go down.

“Let’s say that 10 people call us on New Years’ Eve. That’s 10 people who aren’t out drinking and driving,” Lawley said. “That helps more than just 10 people.”

Anyone who is in need of a ride throughout the week or needs more information about the program can call Bradford Health Services at 942-3200.