New Calif. law gives free rides to people too drunk to drive home

Chinese men compete in a beer drinking contest in downtown Beijing on June 26, 2014. In California, people who drank too much will be able to get a free ride home from the bar under a new law set to take effect on Jan. 1. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Dec. 29 (UPI) — A new California law set to take effect on Jan. 1 will give free rides to people too drunk to drive home.

Assembly Bill 711 allows alcohol manufacturers and licensed sellers to offer free or discounted rides to take would-be drunk drivers home through ride-sharing services, taxicabs or other transportation providers, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Under previous law, alcohol manufacturers and licensed sellers were restricted from offering free rides to prevent them from giving incentives to encourage more alcohol consumption. However, the new law still restricts the act of offering rides in exchange for more alcohol purchases.

California was one of only a handful of states that prohibited alcohol sellers from offering free rides.

“AB 711 would allow California to join over 44 other states in which this type of drunk driving prevention is legal,” an analysis of the bill stated, according to KTLA-TV.

Uber, one of the ride providers that plans to participate by offering ride vouchers, said it supports the legislation.

“We are always supportive of efforts to reduce drunk driving. That is why we have partnered with [Mothers Against Drunk Driving] over the past few years to promote safety and getting a designated driver,” the company said in a statement to NBC 7 in San Diego.

Anheuser-Busch and Lyft already partnered together last year for a ride-sharing program that has so far provided thousands of rides to drinkers across the country.

“Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable and offering safe rides is one way that we can have a real impact on reducing (it),” said Katja Zastrow, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch.

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