JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - If 250 people who had too much to drink were kept off the Jackson area roadways New Year's Eve thanks to the "Safe Ride Home" service offered by AMR and Safe Kids Mississippi, can we multiply that number to determine how many lives were saved? Or add a few zeroes to see how many families weren't left devastated from losing a loved one?
"It's hard to say exactly, to put a number on it, but it would be astronomical if you sat down, figured out how many lives was saved last night," says Mark Andrews, who managed the Safe Ride Home effort. He's an EMT Field Training Officer for AMR.
"The calls started coming in 10:30, 11:00, then 12:30 they got real busy," he says. "The people needing a ride don't call, they will go to the bar, find a manager and have them call for them."
Men and women of all ages used the service. They were picked up from bars and restaurants in 15-passenger vans provided by AMR. All it took was a phone call to Safe Kids Mississippi. It's the first year Safe Kids took part in the program.
AMR Public Affairs Director Jim Pollard used to work as an EMT, and he's seen more than his share of drunk driving tragedies. "The holidays, those crashes really seem to stick with you, because against the background of families being torn apart, it sticks with you," he says.
We're told no fights or other problems erupted on the vans. The Safe Ride Home effort was seen as a tremendous success this year.