Editorials and Opinions

Students should take advantage of SafeRides

By Sandy Shen
Published: April 2010

The night is winding down, and you just had an amazing time at your best friend’s party. But let’s face it, sometimes at parties you don’t just drink chocolate milk and play monopoly. You have to admit that you and the people you came with all had a tiny bit too much to drink – and not of chocolate milk. You haven’t chosen a designated driver because, really, who actually does that? Is it worth the risk for one of you to drive home? At South, we have a better option: a program called Safe Rides.

Safe Rides is a taxi system that allows a student who does not trust his or her own driving capabilities to get a free ride home. On the night of a party, when students are too intoxicated to operate their own vehicles, they may call a cab and get a free ride home.

Despite having been around for two years, few people have heard of it or know how it works. A student may sign a consent form that puts him or her in the trust of a taxi company and then will be allowed to call a cab whenever her or she is in a situation where his or her own driving capabilities are impaired.

The program is completely free for students. There is literally nothing to lose from it. “Everyone should sign up. It is completely free; all you need is a signature, senior and member of the staff Stephi Dworkin said.

The website boasts, “Safe Rides is designed to give teens a free, safe ride in circumstances when they may feel unsafe and need a way home. Safe Rides is an amazing alternative to driving home drunk, and can be utilized to prevent accidents and bad situations. The program, developed by the city of Newton, utilizes taxi drivers who have passed criminal background checks and are trained in CPR to drive students home on Friday and Saturday nights between 10:30 and 3:00 am.

Although this program is a great opportunity, students at South are failing to take advantage of it. The staff is “getting more people to sign up, but it’s not yet as big as it should be. We are working to expand it even more, Dworkin said.

Out of 20 south students asked about Safe Rides, none had signed up, and only a handful of people even knew anyone who had. Many students refuse to sign up because they feel that they are responsible enough not to get caught in a situation where the program would be necessary. Others feel embarrassed about taking part.

“I think it’s a good concept, but I just don’t know a lot of people (if any) that actually signed up for it, senior Matt Ma said. “I think the part where you have to get parent’s permission might be the deal breaker. Not many kids will go up to a parent and say, ‘Ëœhey can you sign this so I can drink at my friend’s house and not worry about getting home?’ Some students have never even heard about the program.

It should be a large concern that so few people are using this program to their benefit. Whether it’s because of social pressures or because of ineffective advertising, we cannot be sure. However, the more people sign up for Safe Rides, the more the program can help prevent accidents and make the school a safer community.

Merely having the program does nothing but provide an opportunity for people to make a back-up plan after getting wasted at serious parties. Only when people actually sign up and take the opportunity will it be a successful solution to a dangerous problem.

Read more

Like it? Share it!


Copyright © Denebola | The Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School | 140 Brandeis Road, Newton, MA 02459.
Site designed by Chenzhe Cao.