According to recent statistics, someone in the United States dies every 48 minutes from a drunk driving accident. It’s a shocking number, given increasingly punitive laws about drunk driving and ongoing drunk driving awareness campaigns.
The truth is, few people, especially young people, are fully aware of how devastating a DUI can be. And, once they’ve had a couple of drinks, most people underestimate their level of impairment. People make the mistake of assuming they will be careful and nothing will happen to them—especially if they live in an area with few public transit options.
Now technology has made it much easier to be a responsible drinker, with a number of apps that can get a sober driver to your location in no time. Now, assuming you are reading this sober, this is the time to load up your smartphone with a couple of these so that the next time you’re out and imbibing, you have them ready if you find yourself in need of a sober ride. Here are some of the best:
StearClear is a mobile app for iPhone and Android that, unlike a taxi or friend, will get both you and your car home safely. StearClear uses GPS technology to locate you and then notify a team of two screened, professional drivers who will fetch your from wherever you’re getting your drink on. One drives you home and the other follows in your car. Because you preregister, you don’t even have to worry about having cash on hand—your credit card will be billed automatically. If you’re a habitual away-from-home drinker, you can even get a premium account.
If you have a circle of sober and helpful friends and family, you might choose the iPhone app Designated Driver. Used from an iPhone or iPod Touch, Designated Driver allows you to text five or more friends or family members with your exact location (pinpointed by GPS, naturally) and request a ride. The beauty of this app is that all it takes is a single tap on the red button to send texts, so even if you are stumbling drunk, you should be able to figure it out. It helpfully sends a Google Maps images of your exact location along with your text, as well.
If none of your contacts responds to your plea for safe transport, Designated Driver also features a convenient yellow button, which will call you a taxi from the nearest cab company. Though the app costs $1.99, the savings in potential lives makes it an excellent value.
Get Me Home
Get Me Home is a relatively new app for iPhone developed by University of Alabama graduate student, Matt Staples. The free app provides a listing of taxi services if you’ve had too much to drink and need safe passage to your home or hotel. It currently includes 115 cities around the country, but is continuously adding more. To be included, a city must have at least 7 cab companies to choose from.
Be My DD
Be My DD is a national driving service that provides two different types of driving options. The Designated Driver service will either drive you and your party around, waiting for you at each stop and then transporting you home, or will simply pick you up from your final destination. The Pick Up You And Your Car service will send two drivers to (as the name implies) pick up both you and your car and deliver both safely to your home. The down side to this service is that arrangements must be made in advance, before 11 pm, so it’s not necessarily a good option if you’re blotto at 3 am and need a ride home. Regardless, if you know you’ll be drinking and can plan ahead, Be My DD is a great way to ensure safe driving before you even leave home.
Budweiser Designate a Driver
If you happen to be planning on going to an event that’s listed on Facebook, you might consider using the Designate a Driver feature listed under Budweiser’s Wanna Go? tab on the company’s Facebook page. The service coordinates specific events with sober drivers, rewarding the do-gooders with badges that are displayed on their profile each time they act as a designated driver. Through the app, Facebook users can see a guest list for a particular event, who the designated drivers are, which drivers still have seats available, and who is riding with whom. You’ll be able get home safely and ensure that you aren’t awkwardly riding in the same car as your ex. It’s a win-win!