Free rides home offered on New Year’s Eve

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Keeping the roads safe from possible drunk drivers is part of a community-wide effort, and that’s no less true on New Year’s Eve.

Portsmouth deputies will be out Wednesday night giving rides to intoxicated drivers for the ninth year, as part of the Safe Ride Home program.

“It starts at 10 p.m. and runs to 2:30 a.m.,” Sheriff Bill Watson said. “Like I say, put the keys in your pocket and we’ll give you a ride home. If we save one life, this program is worth it.”

The number to call for a free ride is 757-393-5030.

Since the program started, Sheriff Watson said there has not been a single alcohol-related accident in Portsmouth on NYE. He said deputies will work together with police to look for drunk drivers.

The same is true for police in Newport News: “Through a DMV Traffic Safety Grant, we’re going to have extra officers out there this evening, as well as Friday and Saturday nights, conducting DUI patrols,” said NNPD spokeswoman Holly McPherson.

10 On Your Side found one local driver who said her holiday plans do not include driving: “I’m going over to a friend’s party. I will be drinking responsibly, if at all, and coming home. I don’t want to be out on the roads when there’s too many crazy people.”

AAA of Tidewater is offering a free “Tow to go” program for inebriated drivers to get themselves and their vehicles home safely — just call 757-631-1700. Party goers unable to drive home from the Oceanfront can dial 757-385-5000 to obtain a “do not tow” sticker from a police officer.

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