Albany County Executive Michael Breslin announced the 2009-2010 Safe Ride Program at a Wednesday, Dec 30 press conference at the County Executive's office in Albany. The program intends create a safer New Year's by providing free rides to revelers as one of the many alternatives to driving while intoxicated.
According to information from the Albany County Stop-DWI Program "Anyone who has been drinking within Albany County may call 720-8100 within the hours of the program to request a ride home." The hours of operation for the program will be 10 p.m. Dec. 31 to 3 a.m. Jan. 1.
"We want to make sure everyone understands they have a choice" said Breslin, speaking of the alternative to drinking and driving provided by the program. He went on to say "We [Albany County] have not had fatalities since we started this program," and expressed his hope that trend will continue.
According to Staff Sgt. Lenny Crouch the program was started in 1982. Last year, however, "Safe-Ride" was not in effect due to difficultly managing vehicles for the program. The program will cost the Stop-DWI Program roughly about $7,800, said Crouch. Crouch noted that additional financial assistance for the program was provided through a donation from the Albany Rensselaer County Restaurant and Tavern Association.
"We will provide you with a safe ride home, H.O.M.E., home" said Breslin, referring to the fact that rides will not be provided to other locations other than the person's home, notably other New Year's celebrations.
Reveler's could also rely on the Law Firm of Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti, PC for a free-ride home, should the need arise. Daniel DaGostino, Esq., an associate attorney at the firm was on hand at the press conference to speak about their free-ride program.
According to DaGostino the law firm has been providing free rides to people during major holidays for over ten years. Speaking of 2009, DaGostino said the law firm has provided over 700 rides over the course of the year, with 71 cab rides provided over their most recent effort over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti, PC will provide free rides beginning at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 and ending at 2 a.m. Jan. 1. The number for their program is 1-800-529-1010. "Please call the number, it's as easy as that," said DaGostino.
Breslin summed up the goal the joint effort saying "We don't want to find a really bad situation we could have avoided."