Free Rides Home to Prevent Drunk Driving

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Sending this to my friends---free rides to prevent drunk driving!

I had an interesting conversation with my Japanese friend while she was visiting a few years ago. We were driving through an area laden with bars and night life.  Which can be a fun area if drinking is what you’re there for.

But that wasn’t what we were there for, and it got us talking about drunk driving. I related the lives I’ve known that have been lost to the horrible mistakes of both themselves and others while under the influence and behind the wheel. I lamented the lack of consequences for those who do drink and drive.

She looked shocked. “It is not like that in Japan. If I did that, my father would lose his job.”

Hell, yes, Japan.

Costs of Drunk Driving

Our system is way too lenient. But that doesn’t mean there are no consequences. Here’s some of what you face if you do drive drunk:

  • A night in jail.
  • Bail money.
  • A fine.  And a big one. They get bigger the more offenses you have, but the first one is nothing to laugh at.
  • Possibly extra time in jail. Upwards of six months.
  • A misdemeanor on your record.
  • Might have to attend AA.

Honestly, a DUI with its accompanying consequences would be good news. The fact that the cops caught you means that they got your drunk butt off the street, preventing you from killing someone else.  Or yourself.

Free Rides Home When You’re Drunk

Believe it or not, there are quite a few ways to get a free ride home when you’re drunk–especially on major holidays. Here are some of the best:

Cheap and Frugal Alternatives to Driving Drunk

Maybe you can’t get a free ride home, but you can use one of these options instead. Every single one of them is a heck of a lot cheaper than a DUI:

  • Public Tranport– This one is best if you plan to use it before you leave. On New Year’s and other holidays, cities usually leave their public transport open much later than usual so you won’t have to drive at all.
  • Sober Rides– AAA has created a compilation of programs across the country that offer DD services. They do charge a fee, but most of them not only drive you home, but also send a second driver out to get your car home, too. Check them out here.
  • Tell Siri you’re drunk. She’ll immediately offer to call a cab for you.

Cheaper Than a Funeral

Even if you pay for a super long, super overpriced taxi fare and get your car towed, the costs will still be less than that of the average funeral: $7,000. And that’s if only one person dies at your hands, not including additional damages awarded in the sure-to-happen law suit and the deep, painful remorse you’ll experience for the rest of your life.

It’s okay to have fun–as long as you’re responsible.

I hope everyone has fun time tonight–truly!

But I hope even more that you’ll do so responsibly.



22 thoughts on “Free Rides Home to Prevent Drunk Driving

  1. Budget and the Beach

    Could not agree more! I’m going to a friend’s house tonight, but I have a one drink limit on NYE (well actually most times I go out unless I’m there for a long time), and often times get home before midnight even. It’s just not worth it…in every way, shape or form!


    I think this is a more complicated issue than people are willing to admit. Although it is irrefutable that a DUI is a bad thing, and the drunk driving even worse, I think it worth taking a quick step back and thinking about why they are so common in the U.S: 1) we have a poorly formed public transportation system in 95% of U.S cities (for example, in Boston there is a usable transportation system but it shuts down at 12:30am, while the bars close at 2am. The result is taxis that charge obscene rates, and so many people simply drive in and “risk it” on the way out), and 2) the U.S upholds and even glorifies a culture centered on drinking, our most acceptable form of substance abuse. So instead of only condemning folks for DD, which should be part of it, I think its also important to see them as outputs of the popular culture. What are we all doing to change things?

    1. femmefrugality

      LOVE IT! You’re so right…it’s a sociocultural issue. We don’t take it seriously enough through legislation, accommodation or punishment. I often bemoan the state of our public transport in Pittsburgh (it barely reaches into our northern suburbs,) but as much as it could improve there’s also incredibly rural areas where there’s absolutely nothing available. Because of the sheer geographical size of our country, infrastructure and the way it logically accommodates our citizenry needs to be addressed for oh so many reasons. Including this one. It makes me a little sick that something as destructive as alcohol is so accepted and that, as you said, its abuse is even glorified. Used in moderation, as with all things, I have no problem. But overindulgence is all too popular.

      That being said, I do not think that just because a culture as a whole is wrong that the the individual’s responsibility is gone. (I know that’s not what you’re arguing either.) Even though the way things are established now sucks, it’s not an out for people to drive around drunk possibly killing themselves or, even worse, others. Individual attitude changes are the beginning of sparking a social/cultural change of mindset.

  3. Jefferson

    good post,and nice comments above..

    i have told my kids that if they are ever out at a bar and are in a position where they would need to drive home (or get in a car with someone who has been drinking), no matter how old they are.. 18 or 50, we will come pick them up, no questions asked.

    1. femmefrugality

      I call that great parenting. Ours are a little young to have that chat, but we will be for sure. Before the family I played last minute DD a lot for friends. It wasn’t always the most convenient, but it was a heck of a lot better than going to another funeral.

  4. eemusings

    Drink driving is a major problem here in NZ too – we have next to no public transport, taxis are expensive, and a lot of the country is rural.

    I don’t drink and don’t mind being the sober driver – but I must admit I know plenty of people who drive while still toasted, quite frequently. Her Every Cent Counts has written quite a bit about what her DUI has cost her.

    1. femmefrugality

      I know way too many people, too! I feel like I’m the only one that rips them a new a-hole for it, too. I’m not going to just sit there and giggle with you about it just because it’s the acceptable thing to do. Funerals just aren’t funny to me. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I’m going to have to go check it out!

  5. Amanda

    That’s crazy how extreme it is, but after having known people who have died from drunk driving, I think that the system is way too lenient.

  6. Pingback: New Year. Old Goal. New Energy. - Femme Frugality

  7. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    Thank you for this important reminder – and for the great resources! Having a plan in place before you ever leave the house is a necessity, in my opinion!

    Like Jefferson mentioned above, even though our kids aren’t of drinking age yet, we’ve told them we will come pick them up anytime, anywhere, no questions asked, no consequences.

  8. Done by Forty

    My 18 year old stepbrother died driving home drunk. He almost made it home, too: five houses away. The silver lining is that he didn’t end up killing anyone else.

    I wish I could say that woke 19 year old me up and that I never got behind the wheel when I shouldn’t have, but that’s not true.

    Luckily, I’ve avoided any truly bad consequences and now as a nearly-forty-year-old am finally responsible enough to just let someone else drive.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Oh, man, I am so sorry. I know the pain doesn’t get any better no matter how much time has passed.

      All but one of my friends who has passed this way was very close to home, too. I wonder if people just get too comfortable and think they’re home free? It doesn’t matter. It’s tragic and messed up whatever the reason (or anecdotal coincidence) is.

      I’m glad you get someone else to drive now! I think there is something to what Snark Finance said those years ago–the institutionalization of it can make people numb to the dangers. Not an excuse to brush off personal responsibility, but definitely something I think we need to address at a societal level, too. Because it shouldn’t be the cultural norm. When you’re young and it is, you’re more prone to make bad decisions.

      I hope you have a fun New Year’s! So happy to hear it will be a safe one!


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