Evesham Saving Lives free designated driver program expands to Voorhees

SavesLives

Evesham Township Mayor and Baltimore Ravens kicking coach Randy Brown said it might be one team versus another in the NFL, but when it comes to municipal government everyone is on the same team with the same goal — keeping residents safe.

With that idea in mind, Brown and Voorhees Township Mayor Michael Mignogna have announced that Voorhees Township will now also be participating in the Evesham Saving Lives program.

For past several months the Evesham Saving Lives initiative has allowed intoxicated Evesham residents to get free rides home from all 19 alcohol-serving establishments in Evesham rather than driving home drunk.

Similar to how the program operates in Evesham, Voorhees residents who visit any one of the nine establishments in Voorhees that serve alcohol can now also request a free ride to their home in Voorhees between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. through the smart phone applications of private taxi services Uber and BEMYDD, the latter of which can also bring home a resident’s vehicle.

Additionally, the expansion of program between the two towns also means that Evesham residents who visit Voorhees establishments can now request a free ride home during the program’s designated hours, and Voorhees residents who visit Evesham establishments can do the same.

The Evesham Saving Lives program first started as a pilot program in Evesham in September and has been lengthened several times, with this newest expansion running in Evesham and Voorhees from Dec. 18 through Jan. 15.

Brown and Mignogna said that the initiative will be funded without the use of taxpayer dollars, as has been the case since the program first started, with funding continuing to instead come from private donations from businesses, community organizations and private citizens.

According to Brown, more than 800 Evesham residents have used the program rather than drive home drunk since the program’s inception, and during the program’s first 100 days only two Evesham residents arrested for DUI’s have come from any of the 19 locations in Evesham where the program is available.

Voorhees Mayor Michael Mignogna, left, shakes hands with Evesham Mayor Randy Brown after announcing the Evesham Saving Lives free designated driver program was expanding to Voorhees.

Although Brown said he was a Republican from Evesham in Burlington County and Mignogna was a Democrat from Voorhees in Camden County, any list of differences between the two communities would be nowhere as long as the list of their similarities.

As such, Brown said it was wonderful to expand the program to Evesham’s neighbor.

“The leadership behind us, the team that the mayor and I have to put together, to put this Evesham Saves Lives Program in Voorhees is amazing,” Brown said.

Mignogna echoed Brown’s sentiments, calling the program a great idea and one that would help keep residents safe.

“It takes police time that would normally be spent on DWI arrests and allows those cops to use their time on other safety measures, which I believe is very important and is another reason why our police departments are so in favor of this program,” Mignogna said.

According to Voorhees Chief of Police Louis Bordi, roughly 30 percent of Voorhees DUI arrests per year involve Voorhees residents, and another 12 percent involve Evesham residents.

From seeing the results Evesham has had with the program, Bordi said he and his department were excited to have it brought to Voorhees.

“Anything steeped in safety like this and giving people options rather than driving after they’ve had some drinks or giving them options when they don’t normally have them is a win for us,” Bordi said.

While the program is currently scheduled to last through Jan. 15, Brown and Mignogna said each were hopeful the program would continue past that date.

“Based on what has happened in Evesham we believe that the program will be successful and we will find a way to continue with that program,” Mignogna said.

Specifically for Evesham, Brown said the program would last as long as he was mayor.

“I’ve made that commitment now, we can make this program work,” Brown said.