Don't drive drunk: Free cab rides start at 4 p.m. today

Greet the New Year safely: Chester Police Chief recognized, Anheuser-Busch partners with Lyft

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  • Town of Chester Police Chief Dan Doellinger with Dana Distributors' Special Recognition Award for his years of service to the community. (Photo provided)

  • Tom Kennedy, Dana's general sales manager (Photo provided)

  • Law enforcement officers join the Alert Cab launch on Dec. 28 (Photo provided)

— Your cab ride is free starting at 4 p.m. today, thanks to Dana Distributors of Goshen.

It's part of the annual Alert Cab program to keep New Year's revelers out of the driver's seat when they've been drinking.

At the program's launch on Dec. 28, Tom Kennedy, Dana's general sales manager, announced a new Anheuser-Busch partnership with Lyft. Dana has increased its commitment to the program to $5,000 for this New Year’s Eve, he said.

This New Year’s Eve, Dana is coordinating with local police and 727 bars, taverns, restaurants and catering hubs across the region to ensure that revelers get home safe and sound with free cab rides from 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, through 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

Town of Chester Police Chief Dan Doellinger received Dana's Special Recognition Award for his years of service to the community. Doellinger said he strongly supports the Alert Cab program.

“Drinking and driving is not a victimless crime," he said.

This is how Alert Cab works: The participating bar or restaurant calls a cab or uses the Lyft app to contact a local driver. The driver then takes customer to his or her home.

Nineteen cab companies are participating in the Alert Cab program this year. In Orange County those cab companies are as follows:

Beems Taxi

J&L Taxi

All Family Taxi

Orange County Taxi

Orange County Medi-Coach

Pine Bush Taxi

Night Owl Taxi

Speedy Taxi

During the especially busy time just after the new year rings in, cabs can be difficult to find. Using Lyft is designed to fill gaps that may occur in service and contribute to the effort to mitigate revelers driving drunk.

At the launch, Orange County Sheriff Carl Dubois said he always has plenty of room in “Carl’s No Frills Hotel” on New Year’s Eve.

“Don’t take a chance," he said. "Do not get in that car if you’ve had too much to drink. There’s no excuse.”

Retiring New York State Senator Bill Larkin urged participating businesses to make sure that if their customers are "in trouble that they get home where they need to go.”

Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler said the most dangerous time of the year for driving was between Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl. Through September of 2018, there were 1,068 arrest for DWI in Orange County which is up over 2017. In addition, he reported that the number of police officers nationally who have been killed in the line of duty was up 12 percent, incidents which can happen when police have to deal with drivers under the influence of controlled substances.

“Enjoy responsibly and celebrate safely!” he said.

Brendan Casey, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services, noted that while DWI’s had remained about the same, they were seeing an increase in driving under the influence of other substances, including opioids and marijuana. And Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said that since Colorado had made the use of recreational marijuana legal, they have seen a 67 percent increase in traffic accidents.

New York State Assembly Member Karl Brabenec said he supported the Alert Cab program and that he was a “definite no” on the current legislation before the state legislature to legalize marijuana in the state.

In 2018, Lyft became the first-ever “preferred safe ride partner” with Anheuser-Busch which provided up to 150,000 safe rides across the country including those included in the new partnership.

Dana Distributors has purchased over $2,000 worth of $10 voucher codes for the new partnership.

Dana has offered the Alert Cab program in Orange, Sullivan, and Rockland counties, providing over 2,300 rides since 1986.

Since 2009, Dana has sponsored 1,357 rides and this number has steadily increased. In 2017, 161 rides were provided; so far in 2018, there have already been 60 rides over the year on Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving Eve. In 2017, Dana provided 68 rides for New Year’s Eve.

Cab companies in other counties include the following:

In Rockland County:

AA Taxi

A&P Taxi

Brother’s Taxi

Cheap Cab

In Sullivan County:

A Reliable Taxi

Sureway Taxi

Yellow Cab

Alman Monti taxi

Roscoe-Rockland Car Service

Busy Bee Taxi

We Care Transportation

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