A free transportation outreach can help make New Year’s Eve and other celebrations end without on-road tragedies. In the Badger State, a widespread program offers no-cost trips home for patrons of bars, taverns, pubs, and other establishments serving alcohol.
The initiative is designed for those who may not have designated drivers close at hand, but wisely opt not to pilot their own vehicles after consuming alcohol.
Wisconsin, home of famous breweries, offers a program to shuttle drinkers home safely.
SafeRide is a multi-county program, begun in 1985 by the Tavern League of Wisconsin (TLW), in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). SafeRide aims to cut alcohol-related motor vehicle collisions and accompanying injuries and deaths. The program has been lauded by the United States Conference of Mayors.
Customers in TLW-member establishments may simply alert bartenders, servers, or other staff to their needs for voucher-paid rides home. Drivers may include local volunteers or contracted taxi companies.
How are Wisconsin’s SafeRide programs funded?
In most counties, TLW-member taverns may apply for matching grants to cover the costs of customer’s free rides. Monies to cover these grants generally come from court-sanctioned fees for DUI (driving under the influence) convictions.
In Kenosha County, the SafeRide program is funded, at least in part, by proceeds from an annual fishing derby.
Approximately 50 counties in Wisconsin have SafeRide options.
SafeRide programs are available in the following Wisconsin counties: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, and Lincoln.
These Badger State counties also have SafeRide programs: Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, Trempeauleau, Walworth, Washburn, Washington, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, and Wood.
Additional counties may be participating, as SafeRide programs are added periodically. Pub patrons may ask bartenders for additional information statewide.
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