Posted by taxis, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm
Taxis are cheap. Any business or private party serving alcohol should have a list of taxi company phone numbers to hand out to anyone who appears to have been drinking. Parents need to drill safe driving into their kids heads, including how to call a taxi.
Posted by Cornelia, a resident of Stanford, on Aug 20, 2012 at 10:46 am
My son was a volunteers in the program, when he was at Paly.I am convinced that the experience was also an exceptional lesson for him about the effect of excessive drinking. He has been always very conscientious, even in his college years. Too bad that the program has been terminated.
Posted by paly 85, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm
I was in the first group of volunteers for this program. It was pretty fun, but we didn't get a lot of calls--mostly we ate pizza and watched movies. Still, there were a few safe rides given. I don't think this encourages kids to drink, but rather gives kids a way to get home safe (including the non-driving kids who don't want to get into a car with a drunk driver).
Posted by Chloe, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Aug 21, 2012 at 1:11 am
I used to be in charge of Gunn's SafeRide program. It is an extremely thoughtful, well organized and good intentioned program, and it is sad to see that the Red Cross has decided to discontinue their support of such a beneficial program. I know that to finding youth volunteers was never actually a problem, in fact we often had too many eager students willing to spend their weekend nights ensuring the safety of others. Since the reason behind SafeRide's termination is solely a result of a lack of an organization to support the program, I do call upon any able organization with a similar set of ideals to seek a way to continue SafeRide for years to come.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 21, 2012 at 8:07 am
The one aspect of this idea of youth giving other youth that hasn't been mentioned in the article or the discussion is that it is now illegal for rookie drivers, those under 18 with less than one year's driving experience, to give a ride to a teen passenger. The law is designed to prevent cars of teens behaving recklessly, but it has provided many problems. This is one of them.
Unless of course, the Red Cross, was allowing and condoning teens to break the law.
Posted by jardins, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm
The Safe Ride program has also given a ride home to any high school student without a safe way to get home--e.g., if the driver has been taking drugs (alcohol or other kinds)or has been sexually harassing.
The consortium of schools in the program has been extensive, and the program has been educative, for risks that both high-school students and college students face.
Only over-18's have been allowed to drive designated Red Cross cars, and they've each had to be given official clearance by the DMV: their driving record has to be without previous incidents.
The program has been fully insured, as have the drivers, and it has received formal commendation from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
The program has provided safety to hundreds of teens directly using the program's service--and to hundreds of other people who might otherwise have been involved in fatal collisions caused by teens driving under the influence.
The program doesn't condone under-age drinking and driving--or any-age drinking and driving, come to that. What it does is to neutralize the danger caused by those teens who make mistakes--their powers of judgement aren't perfect.
A safe ride home, free, and confidential (riders are asked only for the name of their school--never for their names).
Safety and prevention of disaster--these are supplied by the Safe Ride program. So how can the Red Cross claim that the program is beyond its mission??? As for costs, the 10 schools in the consortium surely could split the $12,00 annually between them. And if 200 students are using this service each school year, is that a small number??!
Posted by grateful mom, a resident of Menlo Park, on Aug 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm
I was glad that a safe and confidential ride was available when my kids were in high school. These rides are needed not just when drinking has been involved. Sometimes parties or companions get into activities that aren't comfortable or don't feel safe. Sometimes a date is misbehaving. Sometimes friends want to stay a lot later than feels appropriate.
Safe ride was invaluable and I hope some organization picks it up.
I am proud that the Red Cross kept it going as long as it did, but I totally understand when an organization has to focus on its core mission (preparing and responding to disasters). It's clear this is not an easy decision for them and that they'd like to help transition to another group.