My No.1 tip as an accident attorney who sees far too much tragedy over the holidays is to plan for a designated driver. So today, I’m listing some great ride-sharing, designated driver services and taxis.
To emphasize how important it is to have a designated driver, I’d like to share a heartfelt video testimonial from Ruth, who lost her daughter over the holidays. Her daughter was killed in a terrible car accident, one of many every year caused by a drunk driver:
We all know the risk of being involved in a car accident with a drunk driver is much higher on holidays like New Year’s, because of all of the parties and get-togethers. In fact, New Year’s Day is the most dangerous day of the year for drunk driving on our nation’s roadways, according to MADD.
Consider: In December 2012, 830 lives were lost nationwide in alcohol-related car crashes. During the period of December 21-26, 134 people died in drunk driving car crashes. Over the New Year’s holiday specifically, 140 people were killed in alcohol-related car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
I wanted to provide our readers with some easily accessible, safe ways to get home after we ring in the New Year (Last year I fell asleep on New Year’s before the ball dropped because my 9-year-old daughter insisted I had to watch Taylor Swift do her performance on TV – She’s probably more exciting for 9 year olds.).
Uber for New Years Eve
Uber is a new Smartphone app that connects passengers with drivers of luxury vehicles for hire. Cars are reserved by sending a text message or by using the mobile app. Using the apps, customers can track their reserved car’s location. The San Francisco-based company arranges pickups in many cities, including Detroit.
Uber launched in Detroit earlier this year with uber Black, the premium black sedan option, which costs about $70 from Metro Airport to downtown Detroit. In November, Uber launched uberX, the low cost service option, which would cost $44 from Metro Airport to downtown Detroit.
This is a great option for partiers on New Years Eve, as it’s quick and safe.
But beware of “surge pricing,” which raises the rates depending on the demand, and then lowers them once there are enough cars on the road. With surge pricing, fares can hike up to five times the norm.
Uber has received a torrent of criticism for this surge pricing, which many people call price gouging. Unfortunately, I expect that prices will be higher on New Year’s until Uber changes this policy and as bad publicity mounts against the company.
Still, for now, a $100 ride on Uber is cheaper than a drunken driving arrest. And there are also taxis for people worried about price gouging.
Designated driver services for New Years Eve
Another option is using a designated driver service. Designated driver services usually work in one of two ways: the ‘team lift’ and ‘scooter’ approaches.
Team lift is where two people come to where you are in their vehicle. One drives you home in your car while the other follows in their car. They get you home and then ride off together in their own car.
With the scooter approach, a driver arrives on a special scooter that folds up and fits into a carrying bag that can be stowed in your trunk. Then the driver drives you home in your car. Upon your arrival, she unpacks the scooter and rides off to the next client.There’s also a popular and apparently very reliable designated driver service for the metro Detroit area called 4 My Ride at 586-698-2301.
For other Michigan options, check out National Directory of Designated Driver Services.
Taxi numbers for metro Detroit and big Michigan cities
Here’s a list of numbers from cab companies in metro Detroit and large cities in Michigan:
Royal Oak Taxi & Airport Casino Service: (248) 666-0222
Detroit Airport Shuttle & Taxi: (313) 759-7741
Sterling Heights Red Dot Cab: 586-214-5577
Metro Detroit area in general: Checker Cab 313-963-5005
Ann Arbor Cab: (734) 272-8009
Grand Rapids Yellow Cab: (616) 459-4646
Michigan drunk driving laws – Drive sober or get pulled over
Even if you’ve had just a couple of beers, it’s not worth it to get behind the wheel. Michigan law enforcement in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is amping up its patrols during the week of Christmas and New Years in efforts to nab drunk drivers before they hurt someone else on the roads.
Remember Michigan’s drunk and drugged driving laws:
Under Michigan law, it is illegal to drive:
- While intoxicated, or impaired, by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescribed medications.
- With a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more. (This crime is one of the driving while intoxicated offenses.)
- With a bodily alcohol content of 0.17 or more. (This “High BAC” crime is one of the driving while intoxicated offenses.)
- With any amount of cocaine or a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your body. (For more information about Schedule 1 drugs, see section 7212 of the Michigan Public Health Code; MCL 333.7212.)
Additionally, if you are under age 21, it’s also against the law to:
- Drive with a bodily alcohol content of 0.02 or more, or with any presence of alcohol in your body except for that consumed at a generally recognized religious ceremony.
- Buy, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. You may transport alcohol in a vehicle only when accompanied by someone age 21 or older. If you are stopped by the police, with alcohol in your vehicle, and there is no adult with you, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, whether you are on the road or in a parking lot.
For further details on punishments for each type of law violation, visit the Michigan Substance Abuse and Driving webpage from the State of Michigan.
Drive safe everyone, and have a happy, healthy, car accident free New Year’s.
11 New Year’s Eve Safety Tips from Michigan MADD
– Photo courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration