DUI numbers drop in Richmond and Columbia counties

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- You can now get half off your ride home from breweries in Augusta if you take a Lyft. Both Riverwatch and Savannah River Brewing are a part of the ride smart program.

This comes as DUI numbers in both Richmond and Columbia counties are dropping. News 12 talked to a family that lost their son to a drunk driver.

When you see a memorial on the side of the road, they all have a different story. Some were accidents, some could have been avoided. Every day in Georgia, 28 people die from drunk drivers. Now businesses are coming together to try and put a stop to it.

“I have never known such anguish and despair. He was my first born and my only son," said Autumn Griner, who lost her son to a drunk driver.

Autumn Griner is still mourning. 9-years ago, she still remembers her husband screaming to wake her up.

"And he just told me that the Grady Hospital had called him and said that my son had been in a car accident," said Griner.

Her 24-year-old son Jordan was killed by a drunk driver.

"Our family will never be the same, I will never be the same, his fiancé will never be the same," said Griner.

Just this year, there have already been 691 DUI tickets in Richmond and Columbia County combined.

Lyft is trying to drop that number.

"At Lyft we've been about safety from day one and we recognize that riding responsibly for things like craft breweries or something would be a great benefit," said Sam Bond, the regional director for Lyft in the southeast.

If you've had one too many at your local brewery you can grab one of these cards with a code for a safe ride home.

"50% off or $5 off their Lyft rides so they can make the smart choice and do the right thing," said Anne Sloan, brewer and director of sales and marketing at Riverwatch Brewery.

It's Lyfts safe ride program. Riverwatch Brewery is already handing out codes.

"We did beer Olympics and I was handing them out like candy and I was like here's a Lyft code for you, here's a Lyft code, I felt kind of like Oprah," said Sloan.

Now Savannah Brewing Company is hoping to get involved in a couple of weeks

"For us, this is a no brainer. If there's any doubt just take a ride," said Andre Fields with Savannah Brewing Company.

“Everyone thinks oh it'll never happen to me, oh I don't live that far away nothings going to happen in a few blocks which is what happened in my case," said Bond.

Your reaction times are slow so you may not notice it but you are impaired and you're just threatening your life and other peoples lives. It's only going to take that one more drink, it's only going to take that one more block to drive and you're going to destroy not only a person but an entire family.

A tip is to put a plan in place before you go because once you've started drinking you don't think rationally.

Lyft says they are doing this because it's the right thing to do and they are excited to see it grow.