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Safe Ride Unreachable

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Commander's Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander. 

On October 14 my husband and I had been placed in a situation where we need a ride home. We called safe ride numerous times with no response. As a military employee I'm told DUI's are unacceptable and there is always someone there. This was not the case that night. I just think that If it happened to me who else has it happened too. It's an issue that should be looked into.
Col. Mark Weatherington
Col. Mark
Before I answer your question, I'm a little confused. When you said "my husband and I had been placed in a situation where we needed a ride home," did you mean:

A. Someone else forced you to drive to a bar and drink excessively.
B. You had a plan to get home, such as a designated driver, but didn't have the discipline to follow through on it.
C. You wanted to party, and thought this safe ride thing is a great way to put the burden on someone else...and you don't have to pay for gas!
D. You didn't want to call a coworker, supervisor, or first sergeant.

Hopefully it was none of the above and you had a viable plan A, B, & C that fell apart without warning. In that case, thank you for seeking a safe choice to get home.

You are absolutely correct--DUIs are unacceptable. SafeRide is an incredible volunteer resource. On any given week, our SafeRide dispatchers and drivers receive anywhere from 10-50 phone calls and pick-ups. This year, we have fielded 542 phone calls and driven 1,007 passengers home safely. We strive to offer a last resort option, and our small teams of dedicated volunteers work non-stop through the weekend to ensure Airmen get home safely.

However, SafeRide does not enjoy unlimited capacity - and I have become concerned in recent months regarding abuses of this volunteer resource. Everyone should have a plan before they go out - a designated driver if possible - but you should also consider friends/wingman you can call, supervisors-coworkers-first sergeants-commanders, and local cab companies. Stash $30 in your shoe for the end of the night if you have to.

I hope you took advantage of one of these other options to get home on 14 Oct. I would ask you to re-examine your choices leading up to your call on 14 Oct - what could you have done differently to not end up in the situation in the first place?

I also encourage you to get involved with the program and become part of the solution--volunteer as a SafeRide driver. Thanks for your interest in this important subject, and stay safe.