SafeRides provides security

Lulu Stracher, Staff Writer

Picture this: you’re stranded at the bitter end of a party, your designated driver bailed on you and you have no cash handy for a cab.

You wonder if you are going to be trapped here all night. Before 2012, when SafeRides was founded, this could have been the case. SafeRides provides a “free, confidential ride home to any current high school student who lives in Westport on most Saturday nights from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.,” according to the SafeRides website.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), over 300,000 people drive drunk every single day.  Some students at Staples believe that programs like SafeRides condone teen drinking and illegal behavior.

However, SafeRides critics should note that drinking and drug use would still occur with or without SafeRides.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers, despite significant efforts to decrease it in recent years.

Nearly three quarters of students (72 percent) have consumed alcohol by the end of high school, and more than a third (37 percent) have done so by eighth grade. It is inevitable, or at least highly unlikely, that teenagers will stop experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I did take SafeRides once, the drivers were super respectful and non-judgmental, and they took me straight home with no questions asked.

I had no money for a cab, and SafeRides seemed like a much better solution than bothering my parents while they were at dinner on the other side of town, or  worse, getting a ride from someone I didn’t trust enough to take me safely home.

I wasn’t drinking, but SafeRides was the only option for a safe ride.

SafeRides policy prevents the driver from taking you anywhere except back to your house.

This significantly decreases the amount of kids abusing SafeRides because they cannot ask them to be taken to another party, a friends house or anywhere else that jeopardizes them from getting a safe ride home.

The percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991. But with SafeRides working most Saturdays, this statistic will hopefully decrease.