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Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving team up to combat drunk driving on Thanksgiving eve

BOSTON — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Uber are teaming up to combat drunk driving on Thanksgiving eve by offering free rides across the Greater Boston area, including Lynn and Saugus.

“As drunk driving increases during the holiday season, it is imperative that people make responsible choices that result in fewer alcohol-related crashes,” said Persis Elavia, Uber’s general manager for New England. “We want to make it easy for riders to make Uber their designated driver, get home safely, and keep everyone else on the roads safe as well. By continuing to work with MADD and our local legislators, we will continue to promote safe driving options not only during the holiday season, but year-round.”

Thanksgiving eve, which has also been called “Blackout Wednesday,” is one of the busiest drinking nights of the year, according to a statement from Uber. It also represents the beginning of the holiday season when there is a known increase in instances of impaired driving. Uber, MADD, and elected leaders are urging people to seek safe transportation options as they get together and celebrate the holidays.

More than 1,000 people die nationally between Thanksgiving and New Years due to impaired driving crashes; with the night before Thanksgiving being the deadliest night during the holiday season, according to the statement.

“Thanksgiving eve serves as the kickoff to the holiday season, but this time of joyous celebration can serve as a catalyst for drunk driving tragedies,” said Mary Kate Depamphilis, program director for MADD Massachusetts. “We are asking people to plan ahead and leave your car at home. By making Uber your designated driver, you are doing your part to help end drunk driving and make our roads safer.”

All Boston residents and visitors can enter the promo code “SAFERIDEMA18” into the Uber app by navigating to the menu, tapping “Payment,” and then “Add Promo/Gift Code.” This will unlock a free ride up to $15 on Thanksgiving eve. The free rides are available between 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and 6 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22. Availability is limited.

According to MADD Massachusetts’s 2016 data, 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state were due to impaired driving, resulting in 119 annual drunk driving deaths. While the Center for Disease Control recommends sobriety checkpoints, breath tests and ignition interlocks for repeat offenders, all of these measures could be avoided by leaving your car keys at home and being a designated rider with Uber.

An independent study conducted by Temple University found that Uber’s entrance into various cities in California resulted in a 5 percent decrease in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car crashes. Uber also surveyed its U.S. rider base, and respondents said Uber has helped them make safe decisions to get home.

Massachusetts towns eligible for this service are: Arlington, Avon, Bedford, Belmont, Beverly, Braintree, Burlington, Boston, Brookline, Canton, Cambridge, Cohasset, Chelsea, Concord, Danvers, Dedham, Everett, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Lexington, Lincoln, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marblehead, Medfield, Medford, Melrose, Middleton, Milton, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Peabody, Quincy, Randolph, Reading, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Sharon, Somerville, Stoneham, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wakefield, Walpole, Watertown, Waltham, Wenham, Weston, Westwood, Weymouth, Wilmington, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn.

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