Darien Safe Rides operation a model for nation

Darien Safe Rides operation a model for nation

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On many Friday and Saturday nights you can find Kiki Martin and Leah Hotchkiss waiting by a phone at the Depot in Darien, Conn. The two Darien High School seniors are part of a team of student officers in the Darien Safe Rides operation. They say they get 15 to 20 calls per night from students seeking a ride home because they've had too much to drink.

Grace Evanich and Alexa Sheldon are also team leaders and have both done pickups. The calls are confidential. They say they think it discourages kids from drinking too much because the callers don't want to be embarrassed in front of classmates and friends.

The safe rides program started back in the early 1980s after students noticed friends involved in drunken driving accidents it is still going strong with more than 100 student volunteers and this striking statistic: zero alcohol crashes or deaths since the program began.

Alicia Sillars, the youth director in town, says Darien's operation has been a model for others cities across the country.

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