There's no reason for party-goers to risk drinking and driving on New Year's Eve. Tipsy Taxi will offer a free ride to any reveler who asks.
From midnight to 3 a.m. on New Year's Eve, anyone in Lawrence can call Tipsy Taxi for a ride home. The free taxi service is offered each year by DCCCA, a Lawrence-based drug and alcohol treatment provider, to give potential drunk drivers a safe way home after celebrating the new year. All they have to do is call 842-TAXI. Ground Transportation Services, a Lawrence taxi and shuttle service now under new ownership, is contracted by DCCCA to do the driving.
Jen Jordan, DCCCA's director of the regional prevention center, urges people to take advantage of the service for whatever reason, even if it's just to avoid walking home on a cold, dark night.
"You don't have to be drunk to use the taxi," Jordan said. "It's to not only keep yourself safe, but keep everyone else safe and avoid the risk of arrest."
It's recommended to plan ahead and call early for a ride to avoid a long wait. Last year, Tipsy Taxi delivered 877 people safely at their doors. That's more than double the number it carried in previous years, Jordan said, partly because Tipsy Taxi's fleet counted more vans for carrying large groups. More vans will be out again this year, too.
DCCCA depends on donations from the community to help pay for Tipsy Taxi, which usually costs about $2,000 each year. This year, Jordan said, local sponsors contributed almost the entire cost of the program.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have decreased with the passage of new DUI laws, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Even so, Kansas has recorded 57 such deaths between so far this year, with more still to be counted, officials said. Douglas County law enforcement arrested 669 people in 2011 for driving under the influence, according to Kansas Bureau of Investigation.