Carroll organizations offer opportunities for safe rides home


New Year's Eve is a time for parties, resolutions and midnight kisses. Unfortunately, for those partygoers who hop in the car after their midnight champagne and other evening libations, it can also be a time for breaking the law and putting yourself and others at risk. To encourage responsible New Year's partying, a variety of Carroll organizations and institutions are helping people get home at the end of the night.

The best deal for New Year's Eve partyers trying to make it home after the ball drops is Carroll Cab, which is again offering free rides in and around Westminster from midnight to 1:30 a.m. on New Year's Day. Carroll Cab owner Sean Mulgrew said that while other free New Year's rides are often subsidized, his are entirely funded by the cab company itself.


Don't drink and drive! It is a plea we have all heard a million times but yet, sadly, many still chose to make the dangerous, irresponsible and selfish decision to drive after drinking. This is a decision that can have catastrophic, devastating and deadly consequences. Every year in the U.S., approximately 10,000 people are killed and over 300,000 are injured, paralyzed, disabled, disfigured or burned in a crash involving a drunk driver. Each one 100 percent preventable.

"You know, it might keep people from killing somebody," Mulgrew said. "I'm not altruistic or anything. I'm just trying to help out, and if people need it, maybe they'll remember us in the new year."

Carroll Cab will offer its normal rates prior to midnight and after the 1:30 a.m. cutoff for free rides.


Mulgrew said New Year's Eve isn't one of the most popular days for the business. He said he hopes it's because people are carpooling or getting designated drivers and not because they're taking their chances on the road.

While in larger cities apps like Uber or Lyft can provide easy access to rides home, Carroll riders have fewer options than those in urban areas. Lyft drivers don't reach out to Carroll locations, and while Uber drivers do exist in Carroll, there are fewer than in more populated regions.

Those choosing to drive themselves should take caution, as the Carroll County Sheriff's Office has announced they will be doing saturation patrols on Saturday and Sunday evenings. According to the release, deputies will primarily be on the lookout for those driving impaired by drugs or alcohol during the patrol, which is funded by a grant through the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

In addition to the countywide initiatives, several holiday parties have planned their own ways home for their guests. Each year, Liberatore's Ristorante hosts a New Year's party in Eldersburg. When buying their tickets, employees were given the choice to prepay for a shuttle ride home in the 21784 ZIP code.

Dante Liberatore said they've been hosting the shuttle for partyers for years. He said it allows people to enjoy the party without having to worry or think about how they're going to get home.

Another organization hosting a New Year's Eve party where guests don't have to be concerned about how they're getting home is the Hampstead volunteer fire company. This is the first year in about a decade the company has held a New Year's Eve party, and organizer Jeff Bonner said they were insistent on making sure people could get home safely. At the event, those who need a local ride home can get one from the company for just $5.

We want everyone to have a good time celebrating, but whatever your plans are, make sure you have a plan for getting home too.

"We want to keep people safe, we don't want people drinking and driving," Bonner said. "We try and keep an eye out for that at the establishment. If somebody needs a ride home, we'd rather see them take it with us than take their chances."



How to ride

To take advantage of Carroll Cab's free rides between midnight and 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, call the company at 410-923-5215.

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