MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Do you want to go to jail for driving drunk this Thanksgiving weekend or do you want a free ride home courtesy of the ArriveSafe program?
The answer is an easy one, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said Wednesday.
“There’s no reason you cant have fun, enjoy it,” he said. Just don’t drink and drive. There’s no reason for it now.”
If drinking is part of your celebration this Thanksgiving Day or into the weekend through Sunday morning, Heck wants to make sure you use the ArriveSafe program to protect yourself and others.
Heck said his ArriveSafe program offers free rides home to anyone in Montgomery County who feels he or she might not be sober enough to get behind the wheel.
“Do you want to go home safe, in an Uber, safe, at no charge or do you want to go to jail after having a good time?” he said, posing the hypothetical.
This year, Heck said, instead of calling a pre-recorded phone line, now you can simply scan a QR code off a poster that will be displayed in bars or restaurants. The QR code will also be available on the prosecutor’s website or Facebook page.
The free ride program, which provides up to $40 for each rider, does not use taxpayer money. Sponsors such as Heidelberg Distributing and Budweiser provide the funding.
Susan Kneidl, special projects manager for Heidelberg, said, “We want everyone to be able to relax and enjoy a beverage but it is very important to plan ahead.”
Prosecutor Heck said he wants to do everything he can to make this a crash-free, death-free weekend on Montgomery County roads.
This year in Ohio there have been more than 5,400 OVI crashes and 458 of them have been deadly.
“You don’t want to do that,” he said. “There’s no reason to do that. [ArriveSafe] is free. Take advantage of it,” he said.
Heck is hoping businesses in popular entertainment destinations such as the Oregon District place the program’s flyer with the QR code on it in good locations so people can simply scan and grab their voucher for a free and safe Uber.
In 2020-21, the program provided 500 free rides home -- and nearly 8,500 since the program began 15 years ago, Heck said.
ArriveSafe rides will be available from 6 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 23) through 6 a.m. Sunday.
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