TUPD to begin offering free rides to students who overindulge and don’t have a DD

Troy University Police Department's latest initiative will provide a free ride to any student who has had

Troy University Police Department's latest initiative will provide a free ride to any student who has had "one too many." (TROY photo)

Troy University Police are launching a new program aimed at helping student make the right call when it comes to drinking and driving.

The “Choose Your Ride” program will allow students who may be impaired to call a University police officer for a free ride home, rather than taking a chance on getting behind the wheel.

“We have seen enough DUIs for students – and one student DUI is too many – to want to do something proactively to keep them safe,” said Chief George Beaudry. “We want to give them a viable option before they kill themselves or someone else on the road or go to jail for DUI. Before they drive impaired, I want them to call us.”

One of the main factors behind the decision to offer rides is a lack of cab services in the city of Troy after 5 p.m., and there are no Uber, Lyft or other ride-share services in the city.

“We encourage our students to engage in the responsible use of alcohol and to use designated drivers, but sometimes social events don’t go as planned, DDs don’t show or begin drinking, and then there’s a situation,” Beaudry said.

“This new program will assist students on those occasions where they’ve had ‘one too many’ or their ‘DD’ plan failed for some reason,” he said.

There are some rules students will have to follow, however.

A student must be 21 and show a valid student ID, the pick-up location, and the drop-off location (the student’s residence) both have to be within a four-mile radius of the city limits of Troy, and there’ll be no stops along the way.

The student requesting pick up must be conscious, alert and in control of their physical faculties, or if they’re not, medics will be called in to evaluate them. And, of course, if they’re pulled over for DUI, they’re not eligible for a ride.

“We want them to choose their ride – the smart one home or the dumb one to jail,” Beaudry said. “The goal here is to give them an alternative to drinking and driving.”

While the program is intended to serve those of legal drinking age, TUPD will also pick up students who are under 21, although those students will face disciplinary actions from the University but have criminal charges deferred.

The “Choose Your Ride Program” is another initiative in campus policing policies that are student-centric, such as an escort program if a student feels uncomfortable walking alone on campus at night, “Coffee with Cops,” and car safety checks.

“If a student needs help in any way, we want them to call us. We want them to learn how to be safe in a variety of circumstances, and we want them to make good decisions about where they’re going and what they’re doing,” Beaudry said.