| Client Corner – The National Council for the Prevention of Impaired Driving and SafeRide America|
How many people used the SafeRide America service last night? Well, that’s a number Founder and Executive Director Michael Rhyne can easily produce. What’s less straightforward is calculating how many accidents, injuries and deaths were avoided as a result? As Michael says, “It’s almost impossible to prove that something didn’t happen.” Recently, SafeRide America implemented new technologies to more efficiently offer services to people who might otherwise drive impaired on Atlanta’s roads and highways.
Ten years ago, you identified an important need here in Atlanta. Tell us more about that.
As a concerned citizen and the owner of a limousine company, I had closely followed the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) and other groups as they lobbied for tougher penalties and expanded enforcement of driving under the influence (DUI) laws. I also watched as liquor and beer manufacturers added “Drink Responsibly” messages to their advertisements. I wondered: What happens to the people who sometimes don’t drink responsibly, but don’t want to leave their cars behind? The National Council for the Prevention of Impaired Driving and SafeRide America were established to address exactly this issue.SafeRide America offers a service that gets impaired drivers - and their cars - home safely. What kind of technology supports that effort?
Until quite recently, all details regarding a ride were handwritten on paper in the office and then communicated over cell phone to our drivers. However, earlier this fall, thanks to a generous donation from the manufacturer, we implemented “PC Dispatch.” Figuratively speaking, with the automation, features and functionality provided by PC Dispatch, our operation has gone from “horse and buggy” to “space shuttle” in a few short months. Now, calls to our office are filtered through a POS Caller ID box, instantly identifying repeat customers, which eliminates the need to re-document the answers to a plethora of questions such as customer name, car model and color, destination address, etc. That functionality alone saves us a ton of time. Additionally, each one of our drivers carries a cell phone that has been custom programmed for data-only capabilities and with PC Dispatch proprietary software. Using the GPS capabilities on the cell phone, the software enables us to track each driver’s location and availability on-line. The manual process we used to use - mostly cell phone calls - to figure out “Which one of our drivers should pick up this customer?” has basically been eliminated. With a simple “click and drag,” we can send all of the pick up information to a driver’s GPS device, including turn-by-turn directions. When the driver alerts the system that he or she has arrived at the pick up location, a .wav file sent to the customer’s cell phone via Skype lets them know their ride is there. Finally, if the customer wants to pay for the ride with a credit card, we use authorized.net to verify the transaction.What other applications help support the work you are doing here?
Every week, we recruit 30 to 50 volunteers for SafeRide America via VolunteerMatch.com, Craig’s List and free ad space in Creative Loafing. All volunteer applications used to be done on paper, but now they are processed on-line using Formsite.com. We also use Google Calendar to track events where we predict our customers will be and need our services. The RetroTechs are proud to have donated hardware and services to the NCPID. SafeRide America and their other programs have helped keep Atlanta’s roads and highways safer by providing more than 25,000 rides to over 50,000 people who otherwise might have driven under the influence. Please think about calling them instead of driving impaired over this holiday season and throughout the New Year, and the next, and the next….To learn more, please visit their web site. http://www.ncpid.org/
Posted by Elizabeth
on Tuesday, November 17 2009 - 19:00:00