One of the most integral parts of the college years for students is exploring new experiences and socializing with peers. It’s crucial, though, to strike a balance between having fun and making responsible choices, especially when it comes to alcohol consumption.
The university town of Princeton, New Jersey, offers one solution to this issue through its designated-driver initiative in partnership with Uber Transit. The Police Benevolent Association (PBA 130) of the Princeton Police Department (PD) originally funded its Princeton PD Provides Your DD program. This program offers Uber vouchers valued at up to $15 for on-demand rides* to students and others who visit the 2 dozen participating bars, restaurants, and private clubs on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8pm to 2am. The PBA provides opportunities for participating establishments and patrons to continue to donate to support the cause.
“We are proud to be the first police department to adopt this program in the central New Jersey region, with the hope that surrounding municipalities will also participate to form a reciprocal arrangement for our residents and theirs. This is a proactive approach to eliminate driving under the influence that is free of charge to our residents, students, and visitors. Each time this program is used, it saves lives.”
—Sgt. Michael Strobel, Princeton Police Department, Traffic Safety Bureau
Benefits to local communities
Recognizing the unique challenges that university students face, initiatives like Princeton PD Provides Your DD with Uber Transit can be helpful with student safety by promoting responsible drinking, and fostering a supportive community.
Such programs are particularly beneficial given how thoroughly students are incorporated into local communities. They also promote positive behaviors, such as:
- Prioritizing student safety. Programs like this provide support for students who find themselves in situations where they may be under the influence. By offering a safe and accessible way to get home, such initiatives reduce the risks associated with impaired driving, helping to ensure the well-being of students and the broader community.
- Encouraging responsible decision-making. By providing a convenient alternative to driving, programs like the Princeton PD and Uber Transit partnership actively promote responsible behavior among university students.
- Reducing impaired driving incidents. Studies consistently show that young adults, particularly those 18-24 years old, are at a higher risk of being involved in alcohol-related accidents. By implementing partnerships between law enforcement and rideshare services, like the one in Princeton, the number of impaired drivers on the road can be effectively reduced. This, in turn, helps create a safer environment for everyone, including students, pedestrians, and residents.
- Strengthening community engagement. University communities thrive on collaboration, support, and trust among students, the university, and local authorities. When students feel supported and know that resources are available to help ensure their safety, they’re more likely to engage with local authorities and seek assistance when needed.
Programs like Princeton PD Provides Your DD are invaluable for their contribution to students’ overall well-being and to a culture of accountability and support within university communities.
If you’re a university administrator or student group interested in harnessing Uber’s technology for your mobility needs, please visit uber.com/transit/higher-education to get started.
*Uber voucher terms and conditions, shared upon voucher distribution, apply.
Posted by Lucia Phan
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