Getting home safely and inexpensively on New Year’s Eve

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Area police officers and state troopers are already stepping up their patrols to catch drunk drivers.

Nationwide, about forty percent of crash deaths between Christmas and New Year’s Day involve alcohol.

That’s why if you have any alcohol at all, police officers are asking you to drop the keys, forget about your car and find a ride home.

“Over the years we have seen a lot of folks who have been injured and killed because of drunk driving,” said David Stewart, managing attorney at Stewart & Stewart law firm in Carmel.

For more than ten years, Stewart & Stewart has offered up a $20 incentive for New Year’s partiers to stay off the roads.

This year, Stewart says more people than ever are taking advantage of the voucher, with nearly 500 people already signed up for the offer.

“New Year’s obviously is one of those times where people go out, celebrate, have champagne, have some wine, that kind of thing, so it’s particularly important on New Year’s Eve to offer people a safe way home,” said Stewart.

To take advantage of the deal, you have to register on the company’s site by noon on New Year’s Eve. Then anyone registered can submit a receipt for a cab ride home to Stewart & Stewart and they firm will reimburse you up to $20.

That could help take some of the sting out of the high prices revelers may face, since demand for drivers will likely be much higher than the supply on new year’s eve.

“New Year’s Eve is one of our busiest nights of the year and so we know hundreds of people will be relying on us,” said Stewart.

Kayla Whaling, an Uber spokesperson, says most cities will see higher prices when everyone is headed home between midnight and 3 a.m., just like they would during any other low supply, high demand situation.

Unlike in year’s past though, Uber now shows users a dollar amount for the cost ahead of time, instead of making inebriated customers do the math on how much surge pricing will cost them.

“There should be no surprises how much the trip is going to cost prior to you taking that trip through the Uber app,” said Whaling.

Whaling also reminds users that Uber allows you to split fares, meaning multiple friends can get in one car and all share the cost, which may be unusually high.

The overall total could still be six to seven times higher than usual, but a DUI or OVI—operating a vehicle while intoxicated—will cost you much more than that.

According to Indianapolis attorney Rock Lee, a first-time DUI, which is a class A misdemeanor, will cost the offender no less than $2,000 in attorney and court fees and could cost up to $10,000. If convicted, a person could face up to one year in jail and a fine of $5,000 as well.

And of course a life lost due to drinking and driving, will cost you much more than that.

“If one person doesn’t get injured or hurt because we have done this, then it’s been a success,” said Stewart.

Although cost is important, Uber also reminds users to follow a list of safety tips when catching a ride.

With streets so busy, each user should confirm the driver’s name, make and model of the car before getting in.

People can also “share” their location during a trip with Uber so friends know exactly where they are and when they should arrive.

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