New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky today announced that thousands of free taxi, livery and public transit rides home will be given away this holiday season to encourage New Yorkers to be safe and plan ahead with a designated driver. The City is working with entertainment and music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, who leads all marketing initiatives for CÎROC Ultra Premium Vodka, to help promote the use of designated drivers as a responsible part of holiday celebrations. A representative from CÎROC joined the Commissioners to announce the giveaway of free debit cards valued at $25 apiece for New Yorkers to use in taxis or at MetroCard or other transit-ticket machines this season, encouraging revelers to plan for a designated driver—be that a cab driver, a friend or a subway conductor. The giveaway is part of the City's ongoing efforts to curb drinking and driving, reduce traffic crashes and make the city's streets even safer, and is part of a growing list of resources available through YouTheManNYC.org, DOT's campaign aimed at reducing drunk driving in New York City.
"Designated drivers are as important a part of the holidays as mistletoe and the New Year's Eve ball drop," said DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "Whatever your plans, make sure they include a safe ride home after the ball drops, or on any night of the year."
"As it does every New Year's Eve and the holidays leading up to it, the New York City Police Department launches special enforcement initiatives, including checkpoints, aimed at drunken drivers," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. "Those arrested face license revocation and imprisonment for driving while intoxicated and putting their lives and the lives of others at risk."
"Taxicabs and for-hire services have been the designated driver of choice for many years," said TLC Commissioner Yassky, "and a smart way to combine a great time with safety and responsibility. We're proud to be partnering with CÎROC, Diddy Combs and our sister agencies NYPD and DOT to make that smart decision as easy as possible for thousands of holiday revelers."
"As the ‘Official Vodka of New Year's Eve, CÎROC has made a huge impact over the last two years by helping New York get home safely, so I'm proud to announce that we're bringing the program back in an even bigger way," said Combs, who entered into a strategic marketing alliance with the owner of the spirit brand three years ago. "New York is the world's most iconic holiday destination, so I'm excited to lead by example to demonstrate that a smooth, sophisticated holiday season doesn't end when the ball drops, but when everyone gets home safely."
Launched earlier this year, DOT's "You the Man" social-marketing campaign targets men ages 21-39, who statistics show are most likely to get into a DWI-related crash or accept a ride from an intoxicated driver. This public education campaign relies on peer-to-peer language to celebrate designated drivers and in its latest iteration uses humorous winter holiday scenarios to remind New Yorkers that the City has more than 13,000 built-in designated drivers—cab drivers—in addition to subway conductors and bus drivers. The new ads will run now through the new year online and on the radio as well as outdoors on billboards, on posters and on taxi tops. The campaign features a Web site, YouTheManNYC.org, and a new free iPhone app, which uses GPS to help users find the closest subway stops and livery car services.
For the safe-ride home promotion, the rides will be distributed in the form of pre-paid debit cards, which are processed by TransCard and printed at Arroweye Solutions and are valued at up to $25 and redeemable exclusively in the city's 13,000-plus taxicabs, participating livery car services, MTA, PATH, NJ Transit or other ticketing machines from Dec. 2 through Jan. 1, 2011.The cards will be distributed at three events in December: one each in the Bronx (Dec. 17); Brooklyn (Dec. 11); and Manhattan (Dec. 31). Exact locations will be announced a few days before each distribution on the You the Man website.
The NYPD will continue its drunken-driving enforcement throughout the holiday season with DWI patrols and checkpoints throughout the City. The NYPD made 10,367 drunken driving arrests and seized 1,548 vehicles from drunk drivers in 2009.
For more information about the campaign, visit YouTheManNYC.org. For details about DOT's ongoing efforts to enhance safety, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.
Examples of New Campaign Visuals