A new law that was part of the state budget means that convicted drunk drivers will pay an extra fee with their fines to help fund the statewide SafeRide Program.

The surcharge comes to $50 per conviction, and that money goes directly into the statewide SafeRide fund, a story at WBAY.com in Green Bay reads.

Started by the Tavern League of Wisconsin, SafeRide provides safe rides home for people who have had too much to drink while out and about at no cost to them if they’re in a League establishment. Since 1999, SafeRide has been funded by drunk driving fines.

But, because drunk driving convictions have dropped from 32,273 in 2010 to 24,012 in 2014, and requests for rides have gone up, funding had become an issue. The number of rides has increased by about 10 percent each year, the story continues.

The Tavern League’s SafeRide program has a proven record of success,” said Tavern League of Wisconsin President Terry Harvath in a press release on the League’s website. “We know it keeps impaired drivers off the roads, making it safer for everyone throughout Wisconsin.”

Statistics cited from the state Department of Transportation list a decline of 45 percent in alcohol-related crashes since 2003 and a drop in drunk driving accident deaths of 47 percent. The correlation between the numbers and the SafeRide program is clear, the League states.

More than 80,000 free rides were provided in 2014 at a cost of about $960,000.

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