Morgantown Leaders See Potential in DubV Safe Ride to Fight Drun - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Morgantown Leaders See Potential in DubV Safe Ride to Fight Drunk Driving

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A unique take on a designated driver service launched April 4 in Morgantown, called DubV Safe Ride.  

"Literally, every day we come to work, we're dealing with a drunk driver," Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said.

The numbers are staggering. According to Preston, Morgantown police made roughly 100 DUI arrests already this year. Their total for all of 2012 was just under 270.

Those numbers don't include the drunk drivers caught by state police, sheriff's deputies, and other municipal police, or those that manage to elude authorities.

"For every one DUI, we know that there are multiple other people that are on the road inebriated that we haven't caught," Morgantown City Manager Jeff Mikorski said.

DubV Safe Ride aims to curb those numbers. Members can call a driver when they've had too much to drink. The drivers arrive on motorized scooters which fold up and fit into the client's car, and drive the member's car to their home. They get back on the scooters and are ready for the next client.

"It's an interesting entrepreneurial project for somebody to take on," Mikorskui said. "I hope that it's something that can be sustained."

It's not the only program available to keep drunk drivers off the roads, and yet DUI numbers are still on the rise.

"The program is only as good as the people who agree to utilize it," Chief Preston said. "Just like public transportation; it's there, but not taken advantage of."

DubV Safe Ride's creator, Eric Watkins, has been working hard to spread the word before Thursday's launch. He has appealed to bar owners and event promoters who want to keep their customers happy and safe.

"They've been helping me get the word out, and most importantly through Twitter and Facebook," Watkins said. "The word through Twitter and Facebook has really gotten out there and it's went viral."

Chief Preston and Mikorski agree that a program that if the program keeps even one drunk driver off the roads, it is a success for the whole community.

"It does take some resources," Mikorski said. "Every time there's an arrest, it takes the resources of the police department off the streets and into the processing."

"It's not worth it," Preston said. "In the time it will take to process your arrest, you could have already gotten where you needed to safely."

Dub-V Safe Ride said between Thursday and Sunday night it gave 26 rides home to customers.