House approves Austin plan to encourage people not to drink and drive

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A plan offered by State Rep. Terri J. Austin (D-Anderson) to help encourage people not to drink and drive has been approved in the Indiana House.

Austin’s proposal allows manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to provide free or discounted rides to members of the public through taxis and ride-sharing services. The amendment was included with bipartisan support into Senate Bill 179.

“Our ultimate goal is to prevent people who are out having a drink from taking the risk of getting behind the wheel and driving home,” Austin said. “My amendment would enable the three-tiered system presently in place – manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers – to join forces to offer customers the chance to get home safely, by offering free or discounted rides from a taxi company or a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.

“Such discounts are not allowed under state law, because it falls under the so-called ‘Happy Hour’ provisions that prohibit discounts on any kind of alcohol-related product,” she continued.

The free or discounted rides would be provided to consumers through vouchers or codes. The offers would not have to be conditioned upon the purchase of an alcoholic beverage.

“No one wants to see people drink and drive,” Austin said. “This enables us to make it easier for people to get a sober ride and encourages them not to drink and drive. It is one of the most important public safety bills being offered this legislative session.”

Senate Bill 179 is now eligible for third reading in the Indiana House.

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