New smartphone app offers a safe ride home in your own car

A 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found 1.9 percent of people reported getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking.

In Wisconsin, that same survey found 3.1 percent of people admitted to drunk driving.

To combat these statistics, Sam Washer and Matt Horeter are promoting a new mobile app, Way Around, that gets you and your car home safely after a night on the town.

Way Around gives you a personal valet, without the fancy car or expensive price tag. Way Around CEO Sam Washer says this app creates the freedom of travel without stressing about the specifics of your ride.

"People like their own car. So, they get to take it around. Whether it's from a Brewers game, a winery, or a brewery, they can get them and their car home and not have to worry," says Washer.

The app offers customers two options: Way Home (gets you and your car home) or Way Around (a driver takes you in your car, wherever you want). Both are available at a flat rate: Preferred users pay a $50 driver fee plus $25/hour over 2 hours, while the standard rate is a $75 driver fee plus $35/hour over 2 hours.

The Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drugs, released in 2016, the number of Wisconsin alcohol-impaired drivers highest in the nation. Additionally, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health's (NSDUH) estimates 24 percent of Wisconsinites have driven drunk,almost twice the national rate of 13 percent. 

Washer says that's why Milwaukee is the best place to start testing out this app. Here is where the need for better driving options home is necessary.

"It's keeping the streets of Milwaukee a safer place. We have one of the highest rates of drunk driving here in Milwaukee and the country. People just should know about this so that they don't make a bad decision," says Washer.

Operations Consultant Matt Horeter, says they worked on the app for almost three years to make sure customers see the benefit of using Way Around.

"You could go check out a Packers game at Lambeau Field. You're avoiding the cost of the overhead by paying just for the driver's time, so really it becomes cost effective," says Horeter.

Washer says Way Around has three types of clients: Businessmen and women, partygoers, and non-drivers. Many of those non-drivers are senior citizens.

"They have to go to the doctor, or they have to go to certain appointments, or even just the grocery store. They can't drive themselves, so they'll hire a driver to take them around," says Washer.

Horeter and Washer say Way Around is different from other rideshare apps because of their drivers.

"A lot of them are actually firefighters. We targeted firefighters because they're great within the community. They're used to sometimes stressful or difficult situations," says Washer.

Not all 40 Way Around drivers are firefighters, but everyone wears the same uniform - a black and yellow scarf. It's distinctive, bright, and reminds you of the roads, says Horeter.

While using the Way Around feature, the driver stays with your car. Customers can always track the driver and their car, so there's no joyriding between stops.

Since customers are able to relax in the comfort of their own car, that's additional comfort other apps can't offer, says Horeter.

"Maybe they show up in a vehicle that you didn't feel totally comfortable in. With Way Around, you know what kind of car you're going to be in because you're driving in your own car," says Horeter.

Washer says Way Around is only available in the Apple App Store now, but Android users will be able to download the app soon. Later this year, customers will have the option to request their favorite driver for future rides.

For more details on Way Around visit their website.

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