California app to reward designated drivers

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California has released a new mobile app aimed at encouraging drivers to think twice about driving under the influence of alcohol. The new app was released in time for the holiday season, but is intended to help drivers all year long by making it easier to connect with designated drivers.

Called the DDVIP app — short for designated driver, very important person — the app was released by the California Office of Traffic Safety to prevent alcohol-related crashes, injuries and deaths.

The free app, designed by Aloompa LLC, allows people to request a ride home from transportation companies like Uber, Lyft or Curb. People also can find restaurants that offer designated drivers free or discounted nonalcoholic beverages and food.

Designated sober drivers can view the profile of the bar they choose and use the “Offer” tab to redeem exclusive deals, with the ability to share the deal with friends on social media. The partnering bars and restaurants throughout the state have volunteered to offer nonalcoholic specialty drinks (“DDrinks”), among other perks, to designated sober drivers.

“Vehicles can be deadly weapons,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat, during a news conference Monday at the California Highway Patrol office in Ventura on Dec. 29. “We need to be attentive, we need to be sober, we need to make sure we have a designated driver who is going to take responsibility if we’re out there celebrating.”

Jackson said nearly a dozen restaurants and bars in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, have teamed up with the app and officials are hoping for many more.

During the maximum enforcement period from Christmas Eve through last Sunday, the California Highway Patrol arrested 26 people on suspicion of DUI in Ventura County — which has a population just above 800,000 — and 894 people statewide.

“We do need to make sure everyone puts safety first,” Jackson said. “The message is to buckle up, avoid distractions like cellphones while driving and don’t drink and drive and then always designate a sober driver.”

Part of the goal was to find a new way to connect with younger drivers that may go out celebrating.

“We really have gone out and tried to identity with a demographic who are use to using technology and social networking, so we think this will be really easy for them to use,” said traffic safety spokeswoman Rhonda Craft in an interview with Sacramento’s CBS television affiliate.

The app was created last year as a mobile site, but rebuilt this year to be launched as an application. It is available for free in the Apple app store along with the Android store.

“Designated sober drivers play such an important role in saving lives each time they take the wheel,” Craft said. “The DDVIP app lets users see which nearby bars are choosing to reward designated drivers with discounts and free non-alcoholic beverages. Essentially, it gives designated sober drivers the VIP treatment they deserve.”

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California, Open Source, Public Safety, Software, State & Local News, States, Tech News, Transportation
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