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New sober-ride home app launches

DULUTH, MN – During the summer season, many are celebrating by cooking outside, hitting up the beach and other endless events.

But that fun can lead to dangerous consequences, especially if someone consumes alcohol and then gets behind the wheel.

In preparation for Labor Day holiday, the Minnesota State Patrol is beefing up DWI enforcement from August 16 through September 2.

Lt. Jason Hanson from the Minnesota State Patrol says, “If you’re impaired we are going to get you. We’re going to stop you, put you in jail, and hold you accountable.”

MnDOT, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Northeast Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths organization, and Essentia Health are working together.

On Thursday they announced a free new smartphone app called Twin Ports JOYRIDE.

Allison Nicolson from Essentia Health says, “We have provided 550 rides on average a year through JOYRIDE.”

If you’ve been drinking you can use the app to call a taxi or Uber to get you home safe.

Nearly 50 bars in St. Louis and Carlton Counties will be participating in the sober ride home program.

MN TZD coordinator Holly Kostrzewski says, “St. Louis County has an impaired driving problem. We continue to be the fourth deadliest county in the state of Minnesota for impaired driving.”

Out of 26,000 drinking-related crashes just last year, more than 1,000  happened in St Louis County.

St. Louis County is ranked fourth in the state for drunk driving-related fatalities, according to state statistics.

Officials hope the app will not only provide a safe ride but curb drinking and driving crashes.

“We hope to do that as we drive our deaths toward zero. But not forget the serious injuries and everything else that has an impact,” says Lt. Hanson

Between 2014-2018, there have been 127 drunk driving-related deaths and 481 serious injuries that have occurred from June through August, according to the Department of Public Safety.

The price of a JOYRIDE is $7, and Uber JOYRIDE is $10.

You can download the app by clicking here.

Emma Quinn

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