There’s no “excuse” for drunk driving. The consequences aren’t just a DWI. When drunk drivers get behind the wheel they put their lives and others’ at risk.
Here’s 11 alternatives to get home without getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
An Austin man who hit a cyclist says he tried to call a cab during ACL before he decided to drive drunk.
Friday night, a bicyclist was struck by an Austin man, Zachary Davis, driving drunk on South 1st Street. According to reports, he continued driving after hitting the cyclist.
Another driver followed the pickup truck and called 911 to report the license plate number. Then an Austin police officer in the area was sent to the address tied to the license plate. When Davis arrived to his house, an officer was already waiting. Police could see damage on Davis’ vehicle. When he got out of the truck he struggled.
Then, Davis denied drinking, even though the officers could smell alcohol. Davis told police he drank three beers in a 30-minute time span. And the man claimed he tried to call a cab, but that he chose to drive when he found out it could be a two-hour wait.
The cyclist was unconscious, but still breathing when officers arrived. He suffered bleeding to his brain, multiple rib fractures and a punctured lung.
The cyclist’s injuries could have been prevented if the drunk driver had found a sober ride. Cabs are not the only way to get home safe. Continue reading to find out more about the many options Austinites have for a safe ride home.
Many Austinites without vehicles use ridesharing services to get to work, run errands, and hitch rides to the airport. But most use these services to get home after a night of drinking because they do not want to endanger the lives of themselves and others by getting behind the wheel.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2014 Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Report, there were 1,041 killed in crashes involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. In 2013, 75 people in Austin alone were killed by drunk drivers and DWI arrests increased by 24% in Travis county.
By any definition of the term, Austin has a drunk driving problem. Partly because of vibrant club districts, but mostly because of a lack of awareness about alternative transportation options.
The city and interested parties can’t control the decisions of intoxicated individuals to drive, but we can help spread awareness about alternatives so as to change the intoxicated thought process to first think of alternatives rather than to drive.
How to Get Home Without Driving Drunk
Here are some safer ways to get home from a long night out while staying far away from your vehicle.
- Drive Your Car Services
- Taxis and Electric Cabs
- Transportation Networking Companies
- Shire Taxi Services
- Sober Monkey
- Tipsy Taxi
- Be My DD
- Public Transportation
- SafeRide and the E-Bus
Planning ahead is a strong strategy to up the odds of a safe and fun experience downtown. For many who didn’t plan to get drinks after dinner with friends, this plan ahead option is not available. While there are many options for safely leaving your car downtown, it sometimes just isn’t an option depending on plans for the next day. Luckily there are services like BeMyDD and Sober Monkey just a call away that will have a sober driver drive your car home for you for you to use in the morning! They may be expensive, but not nearly as expensive as a DWI.
Taxis and Electric Cabs
Ah, ye olde standby! Yes, taxis are still a thing, and you can still use them for a safe ride home. If you’re on sixth street, there’s easy access to a line of cabs on the weekend on 7th street. Elsewhere, many major hotels have a line of cabs waiting to pick up. There is also a new fleet of electric cabs for those looking for a greener option.
Transportation Networking Companies
Because Uber and Lyft briefly left Austin, there are more options than in many other metro areas. Between Uber, Lyft, RideAustin, Fasten, GetMe, Arcade City (an underground alternative), and Wingz, there are lots of ways to get around town.
Following a dramatic (and expensive!) election focusing on fingerprint background checks, Uber and Lyft decided to leave Austin. Now they’re back when a Texas law overrode the Austin city ordinance.
Uber’s biggest competitor, Lyft, returned Memorial Day after pulling out of Austin rather than comply with the fingerprint ordinance voters approved. A bill passed in the Texas legislature that will supersede the Austin ordinance and allow Lyft (and Uber) to operate in the city without fingerprint background checks.
RideAustin – Austin’s Nonprofit Rideshare
When Uber and Lyft cut out of the Austin market, a group of tech entrepreneurs were one of many that tried their luck in the Austin market. Even after tech giants are back in Austin, the non profit rideshare has held on to its core values and continues to comply with rules that Austin voters approved: Fingerprint background checks.
According to Austin Chronicle the App, includes two unique features: A fare roundup option and “optional surge pricing.” In roundup pricing, users have the option to roundup their fare to the next dollar, and donate the change to a local yet-to-be-determined charity. In “optional surge pricing” users would choose to increase their fare price to be prioritized on the rider queue.
Another peer-to-peer delivery and ride-sharing service has announced that it will comply with fingerprinting and taxes proposed by the city of Austin. You can easily download these apps from your smartphone, and if a friend has already downloaded the app, you can use their personalized code to get a discounted ride for the both of you!
zTrip is just one option. With zTrip’s mobile app based service you can choose from a late-model black vehicle for “style” or a casual ride on a “yellow taxi.” With service in just 11 cities, zTrip is one option to travel around town or to and from the airport.
This new ride-hailing app wasted no time in Austin after Uber and Lyft left town. They claim to be an “…alternative to crowded Airport shuttles.” You can get a quote before you book, so there are no surprise fees with Wingz.
Why choose Fasten? Fasten has proved its safety record and ability to find accountable drivers, according to their data, and with a quick evaluation of their service costs, may be even cheaper than Uber or Lyft. Take a look for yourself: Fasten Ridesharing Rates.
Shire Taxi Services:
Most cab companies are plagued by awful reviews claiming across the board bad service. But, not Shire Taxi. People praise Shire for punctuality and overall pleasantness, making Shire Taxi stand out among the rest. If you need a cab, call (512) 796-6059 or go online to shiretaxi.com.
do you want to drive downtown, have a fun night of drinking, and then have your car at home the next morning without even driving? Well, it is possible! Sober Monkey is a service that brings a car with two drivers and meets you at your vehicle. Then, one driver gets out and drives your car home, while you get in the other vehicle for a safe ride back to your place. Sober monkey is a little pricier because you are paying for two drivers, but you save the time you would need to pick up your car in the morning. Go online to sobermonkeys.com or call (512) 808-9232.
Did Sober Monkey sound appealing? Well look to Tipsy Taxi for a very similar experience. They ask that you give them 30 minutes notice, and then two drivers show up and one takes your car home. But, although not as highly credited as Sober Monkey, Tipsy Taxi is priced more fairly, costing 5 dollars for pick up and 3 additional dollars per mile. If you don’t live too far from where you are drinking, this is definitely a great option for you. Call (512) 848-4553 or go online to tipsytaxiaustin.wordpress.com.
Be My DD:
Another similar service, “Be My DD” offers a variety of services, and is one of the more popular options. You can hire a personal driver for around $18.50 an hour, or hire a car pickup, which costs $25 dollars plus $3.45 a mile. Be My DD also participates with numerous Austin businesses such as the Broken Spoke and Ego’s. Check out bemydd.com and type in your zip code to see the rates for your neighborhood.
Depending on how far you have to go, pedicabs can be a viable option for a ride home. If you’re feelin’ like riding al fresco and enjoying the night air with a cool conversation with your lovely pedicabbie, this option is the one for you!
Taking either the bus or rail to your destination is one of the most cost efficient alternatives. CapMetro even has a special Night Owl late-night service; be sure to check the Night Owl webpage for COVID updates to service availability . MetroRail often has extended hours on weekends also. You can leave your car at home, pre-game a little with your friends, and not worry about the drive to or from downtown.
SafeRide and The E-Bus
An important qualification: these opportunities are only available for UT Students. But they are invaluable opportunities. The E-Bus picks up on 7th street and drops off at strategic locations for college students: Riverside, North Campus, and West Campus. The newly launched SafeRide offers a similar service where a driver will pick up students and drop them off directly at their place of residence.
The phrase “walk it off” didn’t come out of nowhere. If you’re able to find your way home, walking home with a friend or two is a great way to get some exercise and possibly sober up a little to reduce the next day headache. Just be sure to stay in lit areas and don’t walk home alone. Consider wearing reflective gear, or keeping some in your bag just in case. Never cross a major highway where it is unsafe or illegal to do so. Take extra caution on roads with a speed limit higher than 30 mph. Car vs pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Austin. Find out more from our infographic on pedestrian fatalities.
You can plan and plan and plan, but sometimes plans change. So if you have parked downtown, keep in mind there are options for leaving your car overnight, such as overnight garages and Next Day parking for street spaces. Check out our previous post about parking in Austin.
If you have been the victim of a DWI car accident contact an Austin personal injury lawyer; Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn will be happy to evaluate your case quickly and without cost.
Call us at 512-474-0222, use the live chat on our website, fill out the form on this page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org