Rather than get a $10,000.00 + plus DUI and have to hire a lawyer, San Diego social drinkers can now just dial “511.”
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Then say “cab” and provide dispatcher the address of your restaurant or bar.

What is this? It’s a prepaid $30 card accepted by Yellow Cab drivers in San Diego.

The “RADD/My Safe Ride Home” cards are renewable. Taxi drivers collect the full $30 whether it is a $10 fare or a $60 one.

The cards are available at any of the 70 participating bars and restaurants or visit www.radd.org.

The idea is to encourage students to use taxicabs because of uncertain costs and also to give them an option to driving when they clearly shouldn’t and could get a DUI, according to Marian Novak, a regional manager for RADD, a non-profit entertainment industry group focused on road safety.

The San Diego project is the first of what is being envisioned as a national program.

The public launch came Thursday at the Sandbar in Mission Beach, at a party complete with a speech by the San Diego chief of police and music by the local duo, Ruby Summer.

The Sandbar was the first drinking establishment to sign up for the program, attorneys are told.

Seventy bars and restaurants from Gaslamp to Carlsbad have signed on as RADD Rewards partners, offering incentives to card users. Cal State San Marcos, San Diego State University, University of California San Diego and University of San Diego also signed up.

More than 1,800 college students die each year in drug and alcohol-related accidents and 78 percent of those involve DUI.

“These cards will break that fear of taking a cab.”

A cab fare from Pacific Beach to the College Area is just under $50, while Old Town to East County is about $60, making the cards a bargain for those folks.

The $30 fee may be adjusted later and now is an “introductory offer.” Taxis will collect data on card usage, length of trips and actual cost of fares.

RADD officials said that the cab company absorbs any cost over $30 and keeps the difference. Should balance out. It’s cheaper than a San Diego DUI.

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