Riverside Teams Up With Lyft For Anti-DUI Program

Bernie Tafoya
April 10, 2019 - 12:19 pm
Riverside/Lyft discount coupon

Riverside police

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A unique anti-DUI program in the western suburbs is being spotlighted worldwide.

The Lyft program in Riverside started in 2017. Police Chief Tom Weitzel said officers on his midnight watch came up with the idea and asked him to try to get a rideshare company to partner with and provide discount rides to people who may have had a bit too much to drink. 

Chief Weitzel said he reached out to Lyft and Uber and Lyft called him back within hours. He said he never heard back from Uber.

The chief said Lyft designed the discount cards and started by giving Riveside 1,000 of them.

“We passed those out to every restaurant in Riverside and every place that sold alcohol. Then, we gave the cards to the officers for their squad cars in case they saw people walking to their cars that they thought were intoxicated and might have been stumbling, or swaying and they knew shouldn’t be driving,” he said.

Weitzel also said passengers of people arrested for drunk driving are also offered the Lyft discount cards so they can get home safely.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said since the program started, DUI arrests are down 30 percent. He said his officers believe that’s due to the availability of rideshares, in general, and the Riverside Lyft discount program, specifically.

He said the program does not cost anything to the Village of Riverside. The chief said a resident who had heard about the program asked to be able to sponsor it and was surprised to find out there is no cost to the village.

Weitzel said the magazine of the International Association of Chiefs of Police features the Riverside program in its latest edition.