BISMARCK — In an effort to cut down on drunken driving, the North Dakota Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, March 2, it will offer $10 ride vouchers to impaired residents looking to get home safely.
The new program will allow Lyft users to redeem the vouchers in the app using the code "NDSoberRide" from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. starting Tuesday, March 2. The program will run through the rest of March, or whenever funds dry up, but the department plans to offer vouchers periodically throughout the year on high-drinking holidays and events.
The department wants to make the program available in rural communities through local taxi services, but for now it will only be offered in cities that have Lyft, including Fargo, Dickinson, Grand Forks and Bismarck.
A $10,000 donation by AAA is paying for the vouchers, but the department will use grant money to advertise the program. Transportation director Bill Panos said similar programs are offered in Colorado, Nevada and Wisconsin.
The program's launch comes two weeks before St. Patrick's Day, one of the highest drunken driving days of the year. Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said Tuesday that arrests and deaths from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are preventable, and the new program will give residents another option to get home.
In 2019, about 1 in 6 adult arrests in North Dakota were for impaired driving, and 43 traffic deaths involved alcohol.