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New Jersey Town First in U.S. to Use Uber to Curb Drunken Driving

by Reuters /

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A New Jersey town on track for a record-breaking number of drunken driving cases has become the first U.S. municipality to partner with ride service app Uber to keep inebriated residents from getting behind the wheel.

To keep the roads safe in Evesham Township, a town of 45,000 people in southern New Jersey, anyone drinking in at least 19 alcohol-serving establishments can now get a free ride home in an Uber car in a program funded by donors.

Read More: U.S. Judge Gives Uber Drivers Class-Action Status

Donations from area nonprofits and businesses are also funding a second free ride option that started on Friday: the mobile app BeMyDD, through which people can hire a driver to get both them and their car home.

"We're dealing with people who might've had too much to drink, so we needed to make it so easy for them to open their iPhone and push a button," Evesham Mayor Randy Brown said.

Evesham had been on track to reach 250 DUI arrests in 2015, a record for the town, Brown said.

The effort extends a pilot program tested during September, when town shuttles provided free rides to more than 350 people. The shuttles helped decrease DUI arrests to eight in September from a monthly average of 23 from January to August, a drop of 65 percent, Brown said.

Read More: Uber Working With University of Arizona to Create Self-Driving Cars

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