New California law offers free or discounted rides home when you're drunk

A new law in California seeks to reduce the amount of drunk driving by allowing discounted or free rides to people who may have had to much to drink. 

On January 1, 2018 a California state law will take effect, hopefully drastically decreasing the amount of drunk driving. Assembly Bill 711 allows alcohol manufactures and licensed sellers to offer discounts through various ride services such as Uber, Lyft, or taxis.

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Previous California laws forbid alcohol sellers from offering discounts of similar sorts, but according to The Sacramento Bee, the restrictions will now be relaxed. Discount codes can be given to sellers or to consumers, so that people will have a safe way to get home after alcohol consumption. 

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Cupertino, introduced the program in California. 44 other states have similar laws allowing liquor manufacturers to pay for rides or offer discounts. Low recalled Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, when thousands did not have safe transportation options after drinking. Expanding this new legislation will hopefully prevent such issues.

The measure does not go unopposed, according to NBC Los Angeles. Alcohol Justice, a nonprofit lobby group in San Rafael, is fearful that the "bill implicitly allows for beer manufacturers to promote the overconsumption of alcohol."

Alcohol Justice's research manager, Carson Benowitz-Fredericks, says that there are many other negative results of alcohol consumption, including health concerns. Overconsumption of alcohol is a costly problem for the state. According to Alcohol Justice, overconsumption causes 10,500 deaths a year and costs over $35 billion a year. The bill is unclear because there is no way to prevent consumers from using the free ride to get to another bar to continue drinking. 

Regardless of opposition, the bill is an attempt to make the roads a bit safer by providing people cheap or free transportation options when they are drinking. 

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