COUNTY DEBUTS PILOT PROGRAM TO DISCOURAGE DRUNK DRIVING

COUNTY DEBUTS PILOT PROGRAM TO DISCOURAGE DRUNK DRIVING

The Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department has implemented a pilot program to assess whether county residents will opt for a taxi ride rather than get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

Project Home is a collaborative initiative with Las Cruces Shuttle and Taxi by which a person or group who has been drinking can call (575) 524-TAXI to be picked up for a discounted ride home. For up to two people, the taxi fee is a flat $5 to any destination within Doña Ana County. For up to four people, the flat fee is $10. Grant funding pays the balance of the transportation charges.

Silvia Sierra, director of the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department, said the pilot program will run through June 30 or until available funding is exhausted, whichever comes first. At that point, the data will be compiled to determine whether additional grant funding should be applied for and dedicated to continuation of the program.

“There are no perfect solutions to Doña Ana County’s DWI problem,” Sierra said. “We’re hopeful this program will become another tool that residents will use on the infrequent occasions when they find they have had too much to drink and need to get home safely.”

DWI Prevention Coordinator Jesus Ruben Segura said the program does have limitations.

“These taxi rides are only authorized to get people home,” he said. “You can’t use the program to take you from your home to some place where alcohol is served, and you can’t use it to go to the store. It’s called Project Home, because the focus is purely on getting people safely home if they suspect they’ve had too much to drink.”

The program is available on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays from 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.