DUI-related arrests in Jupiter fell by about 10 percent from 2018 to 2019. Town Police Chief Daniel Kerr said Jupiter’s Uber program helped to make that happen.
JUPITER — Town officials are once again offering free or discounted trips through the ride-sharing phone app Uber, this time for St. Patrick’s Day.
From 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 to 2 a.m. the next morning, app users will be able to use $15 vouchers to pay for trips in town.
A limited number of vouchers are available on a one-per-person basis. You can redeem a voucher by visiting http://t.uber.com/LuckyU.
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Jupiter officials budgeted $18,000 this fiscal year for the program, called Ride Safe Jupiter. Similar promos have been offered since last summer, including for the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Coupled with increased enforcement and education efforts, Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr credits Ride Safe Jupiter with curbing impaired driving in town.
“They all go together to address the situation,” Kerr said. “We'd much rather do prevention than have to make DUI arrests.”
JPD’s DUI arrests were down about 10 percent last year compared to 2018, Kerr said, when roughly 245 arrests were made for such offenses. From 2017 to 2018, DUI arrests in Jupiter spiked 48 percent.
Tim Hohman, property manager for Downtown Abacoa’s retail space, said he gladly welcomes the promo. Downtown Abacoa will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day block party that day from 5 to 9 p.m.
“We definitely don’t want people driving drunk,” he said.
St. Patrick’s Day is typically among the busiest days of the year at one of Downtown Abacoa’s bars, Civil Society Brewing, co-owner Karl Volstad said. It’s right up there with the night before Thanksgiving, he said.
Drunken driving is inexcusable, particularly with options like ride-sharing services and occasional holiday towing promotions from AAA, Volstad said. Backing the town’s program is a no-brainer, he said.
“Anytime you can be safer and stuff like that, of course (it’s a good thing). ... It’s great to see,” he said.
Kerr suspects Jupiter residents are becoming more aware of alternatives to driving impaired, pointing out that the town works with local establishments to make sure patrons know about the holiday promos.
Volstad recalled instructing his bar staff about the program ahead of Independence Day.
Uber has called its dealings with Jupiter the first partnership of its kind with a city in Florida, though it previously forged somewhat similar pacts with local governments that included Miami and Altamonte Springs.
Over the New Year promo, the most recent Ride Safe Jupiter installment, 196 vouchers were utilized and the town spent about $2,500.
Jupiter Police reported no DUI arrests on New Year’s Eve. There were also no DUI arrests over the previous New Year’s holiday, according to a town document.
“Even if it saves one life, one serious injury,” Kerr said, “to me it’s all worth it.”