You start the night with a beer in one hand. You’re feeling a little light headed and slightly loosened; you feel a sense of euphoria. By the end of the night, almost all self-control has been lost. Beer cans are scattered all over the floor. You’re trying to remember how many drinks you’ve had, but your only recollection is making trips back and forth to the beer keg to fill up your red Solo cup. With no money for a taxi, no sober drivers in sight, you have no way of getting home.
Staples students use SafeRides as an alternative ride home whether they are intoxicated or sober. Students involved in the organization say it offers non-judgmental, confidential and free transportation for students who feel they are in a dangerous situation.
“Students are encouraged to use SafeRides as a last resort. We do not encourage underage drinking. But underage drinking isn’t going away anytime soon. So, we are a group of students who wants to save lives by preventing drunk driving,” Will Haskell ’14, the student director of SafeRides said.
However, there are rules for SafeRides: it is open only on Saturdays, students can call between 10 PM-1:30 AM, one can only receive one ride a night, there are no rides to other parties and no drugs or alcohol are allowed in the SafeRides cars. Drivers are not allowed to pick up or drop off students from the diner or the train station.
“We discuss [SafeRides] being a last resort at every training, and we blacklist students who try to abuse the system,” Julie Mombello, adult director of SafeRides, said. “But unfortunately, we are never sure if students use our service as a taxi.”
Most students say they do not plan to use SafeRides before they go out, but they choose to call SafeRides rather than call their parents. Being drunk and stranded somewhere in the middle of the night, past curfew, can be an issue with parents, students said.
“I think if you go into the night thinking you’re not gonna be okay to get a safe way home, you’re setting yourself up for a bad situation. A lot of the time I don’t really know what the circumstances are of when I go out like if there’s drinking,” an anonymous student said. “And if there is, then I usually call SafeRides because I don’t want parents to have to know that I’m not okay.”
Although SafeRides’ purpose is not to be a taxi, the members believe it can potentially help people from putting themselves into risky situations.
“We do believe that if we save one life, then having a few people use us as a free taxi service is worth it,” Mombello said.