Drunk Drivers Designate Strangers

Some wary of a new, cheap alternative to cab service

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Victor Torres/NCTimes

    Friends don’t let friends drink and drive.

    They let strangers drive – usually in cabs, but perhaps this weekend, they’ll get a ride home in the comfort of their own cars.

    Be My Designated Driver is a service that offers transportation by drivers who use their customers’ cars for a flat rate of $15 per hour to pick up and drop off the customer at his or her house.

    Drivers also offer a pickup service for those who leave their cars at a location. A team of two drivers takes customers home in their vehicles for $25, plus the mileage required to get home.

    The company recently started offering services in San Diego neighborhoods.

    Last year, 270 San Diegans were arrested for driving under the influence, according to californiaavoid.org. The company wants to ensure that money is not the reason why someone under the influence would choose to drive home, said Alexa Milkovich, Chief Marketing Officer of BeMyDD.

    Drivers are chosen based on their experience, and are screened for a past of any felonies, sex offenses, DUIs in the past five years, moving violations and accidents in the past three years. The company typically chooses drivers with some chauffeuring experience and knowledge of San Diego streets.

    Yet these qualifications aren’t convincing enough for some residents to feel comfortable handing over their keys.

    “I would definitely be wary of a stranger driving my car,” said San Diego resident Toni Romo. “[The drivers] would have be screened properly. But even then, I would have a hard time trusting them.”

    Romo worried that if a driver crashed her car, the repairs could be pricey.

    In response to these concerns, Milkovich said that if BeMyDD drivers crash the customers’ car, the drivers insurance would cover it. If the damages aren’t completely covered by the drivers’ insurance, the company covers the rest of the expenses.

    Another concern comes from alternate cab companies who drive certified cab cars.

    “This shouldn’t even be a business,” said Harry Agoh, driver of Agoh Cabs. “We’ve worked hard to earn this certification and our livelihoods depend on it. Of course we’re going to offer good service – we can’t afford not to.”