NYE drunk driving discouraged through Albany County annual “Safe Ride” program


It's been almost two decades since Dean Bodnar had his daughter Allison at the dinner table for the holidays.

"As crowded as this dining room was last night, with 14 of us. If there was that 15th person here, there would have been a whole lot more fun if she was here last night," Bodnar said.

Back in 1998 she was hit by a driver on congress street in Troy. She died the next day. It was later revealed that the driver, Michelle Tracy, had been drinking. Since then, Bodnar says he's been working at victim's panels in Albany and Rensselaer county, meeting people face to face who have been convicted of drunk driving.

"They just don't think about how they can change their own for the worst or someone else's life just without having any intention to do so. Just through the selfishness of having to drive yourself home," Bodnar said.

His pain of loss, is one reason why the Albany County Sheriff's office has held their "Safe Ride" program for the last 33 years, where they work with local transportation companies to give free or discounted rides during the late-night hours of New Year’s Eve. Apple says with all these resources, there should be no excuses.

"There's no reason, no reason at all, to roll the dice to have a drink and to get behind that car,” Apple said.

The Capitol District Transportation Authority will offer free rides from 8pm-2am at all regular bus stops on New Year’s Eve. Uber and Lyft will give $20 dollar discounts throughout the rest of the holiday season.

You must be a first-time Uber user in Albany for the discount to work. “UBERALBANY20” is the special code you’ll have to enter into the app.

Lyft also only gives you a discount if you’re a first-timer. To get their $20 dollar credit, enter “RIDESAFE518” in the Lyft app.

The Martin, Harding and Mazzotti law firm will also give out free cab rides from 10pm-2am that night. Just call 1-800-LAW-1010.

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