TAMPA (FOX 13) - Mothers Against Drund Driving (MADD) says it's counting on law enforcement to be out in force on New Year's Eve - and on bar owners to not over-serve. But this year, MADD is hooking up with Uber to make the message clear for NYE partiers.
"So many people have decided to take Uber rather than drive drunk," Uber driver Harold Welch said.
He is a local Uber driver who gathered at Tampa's Epicurean Hotel for a pre New Year's event with MADD.
Bianca Kendall, manager of MADD's West Central Florida chapter, says drunk driving arrests have declined in Hillsborough County during the time Uber has been in operation.
"Since Uber came to Hillsborough County 18 months ago, we've seen a more than 14 percent reduction in drunk driving deaths," she says.
Uber is donating money to MADD nationally and locally. Uber says anytime a new rider downloads its app and takes a first ride with promo code MADDTB, A $5 donation is made to the local MADD chapter.
Nationally, Uber is donating $10 to MADD for every ride home purchased through Uberevents+MADD. The service allows party hosts to purchase Uber rides for their guests.
But, Uber rides may cost more on New Year's Eve. The ride-sharing service uses an algorithm that sets prices based on supply and demand.
"That's the beauty of our surge pricing," says Uber Tampa Bay general manager Christine Mitchell. "When demand out-steps the supply of drivers that are on the road, the price goes up, so it entices more (Uber) drivers to get on the road."
Taxi organizations like the Florida Taxicab Association question the safety of Uber. They say a cab is a better choice. Either way, MADD implores celebrators not to get behind the wheel if they've been drinking.