Shocker Safe Ride provides peace of mind

Evan Pflugradt

From the Nightlife Guide —

Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash, according to a 2014 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Wichita State’s Student Government Association hopes to decrease the number of drunk driving accidents and offer courtesy escort services to students.

Shocker Safe Ride provides students with a safe alternative to driving under the influence. SGA sponsors the service.

Accounting for 23.4 percent, the rate of drunk driving is highest among 21- to 25-year-olds, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

 “We understand we are on a collegiate campus, and students will consume alcohol if they are of age,” Student Body President Joseph Shepard said. “And we don’t want any of our students to run the risk of driving intoxicated.”

Shocker Safe Ride is available to students free of charge with a Shocker ID. The service is free within the boundaries of 119th Street West and 127th Street East, 45th Street North and 47th Street South.

A $2-per-mile charge will be enforced outside those boundaries. Shocker Safe Ride escorts students home, which is not restricted to on-campus students but also to students living off-campus in Wichita.

“Recently we have expanded staff of drivers involved with Shocker Safe Ride,” Shepard said. “Initially we were facing issues of students using the service being told they would face possible half-hour long waits. We don’t want to risk giving students the option. We want to limit the wait time to a 5- to-10-minute pickup.”

Students are encouraged to use the program between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., 365 days a year; the service used to run only until midnight until there was an increase in requests. Students can also call ahead and schedule pickups. Scheduling starts at noon on weekends and 7 p.m. on weeknights.

The service is available all year to students as long as they remain actively enrolled in classes. Friends of students are allowed to ride in the service without additional charge as long as one rider is a Wichita State student with a Shocker ID.

Shepard said service providers would not ask students’ age.

“If there is a student at our institution who has made a mistake consuming alcohol as a minor, we want them to remain safe, too,” he said.

While the ride is confidential, illegal or problematic activity during a ride may be reported to police or WSU, according Shocker Safe Ride’s website.

To schedule a pickup with Shocker Safe Ride, call 978-7433.

“We’re very proud to be sponsoring the service,” Shepard said. “Anything we can do to protect the safety of our students gives us great pleasure.”