Record Number Of People Hitch A Safe Ride Home

By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email
By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email

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Wichitans flocked to Old Town and other party spots around the city on New Year's Eve and this year more of them didn't end up driving home drunk. Instead, they hitched a safe ride.

"We were way busier than we could really help," says Safe Riders Executive Director Sarah Selmon. "We had probably three or four times more calls than we could handle at our capacity."

Safe Riders drove home 200 car loads over New Year's Eve, equaling more than 500 people.

The demand was the highest they've ever seen and the holiday caps off a record year since the non-profit started six years ago.

Since Thanksgiving they've delivered more than 1,700 carloads of people home safely. Over the entire year, they've driven 12,000 car loads of people.

"That is at least 25,000 individuals and drunk drivers that came right off the streets and we feel so good about that," said Selmon.

The even better news is this service could play a part in this year's record low number of drunk driving arrests in Wichita. In 2008 there were about 1,600 drunk driving arrests. That's down from more than 2,300 in 2003.

"We feel good about what we've been able to do but recognize that the year's of education and lots of people working really hard to curb drunk driving will not end," said Selmon.

And remember... Safe Riders isn't just for the holidays. They are available all year long for those who've had too much to drink to drive.

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