Those who find they've indulged in too much holiday cheer can take advantage of a $5 discount on a ride home through a grant secured by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
The Lyft ride-hailing company and the state safety commission are offering the discount to help keep drunken drivers off the road. Louisiana is one of five states selected to take part this holiday season, said Mark Lambert, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
The ride discount runs through Jan. 1, during the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. Lyft service is available in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport. To receive the $5 discount for their Lyft ride, passengers type the code "RIDESMARTLA" into the Lyft phone app.
"If we can do anything to reduce the number of impaired drivers, we'll save lives," Lambert said.
In Louisiana, seven out of 10 fatal car crashes in the period between Christmas and New Year's for the last five years involved a drunken driver, he said.
The discount grant program is administered by the national Governors Highway Safety Association.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission plans to spend $10,000 in federal funding, an amount Lyft will match, to buy sponsored posts on social media, Lambert said. The social media messages will be largely geared to male drivers aged 18-30, a population overrepresented in impaired driving incidents, Lambert said.
The state's share of advertising funds will come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation, he said.
The dates of the Lyft discount program coincide with the timing of the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" law enforcement campaign during the holidays.
It's a time when the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is able to funnel federal dollars through grants to local law enforcement agencies to beef up their patrols for drunken drivers.
Lambert said that Lyft's discount program is the only such program the state is aware of right now.
"We'll work with Uber or Ed's Taxi," Lambert said. "It's a good time to let someone else drive."