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Friday April 13, 2001

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ASUA Senator implementing designated driver program

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By Emily Severson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Students choosing to stay sober will receive free cover and sodas from various bars

Free cover and sodas will be available to designated drivers at university-area bars Friday, April 27.

The point of the event is to give designated drivers a financial break and ensure that those drivers don't drink, said ASUA Sen. Rebecca Broky, who has been working on the project for a majority of the semester.

"Students shouldn't have to pay to drive their friends around," Broky said. "The event should also emphasize that one drink can be too much for some people to be safe behind the wheel."

The designated drivers would get a wristband from ASUA-sponsored tables outside of various bars. The wristband would then get them free cover and sodas or food inside the bars. However, they would not be allowed to purchase any alcohol.

Broky said she has gotten positive reactions from managers of Gentle Ben's, Frog N' Firkin, Bliss, and Dirtbag's so far, and is still working with Fourth Avenue-area bars.

Ian Broome, general manager of Gentle Ben's, 865 E. University Blvd., said he supported the idea of having a designated drivers night.

"We would prefer the designated drivers wear badges because that is more obvious, but we will let students with wristbands in with free cover and not charge them for sodas," Broome said.

"I think the idea is great," said Kelly Ormbsy, a French and communication senior. "It would promote designated driving and save students money."

Ormbsy added that she thought most students relied on taxi cabs to get to and from the bars.

However, one concern Broome had was that designated drivers should be 21 years old because he said he felt there would be too much liability in allowing underage students to enter the bar.

He said he preferred badges because it would be harder for students to take advantage of the free cover but then drink alcohol once inside anyway. However, he thought the night would be in the best interests of UA students.

"I think it is a fabulous thing for a friend to volunteer to stay sober and drive," Broome said. "We will support anything that promotes safe driving."

Robert Peters, a marketing and entrepreneurship senior, said he thought the idea of having a designated drivers night was great.

"I am always the designated driver," Peters said. "I would love it for the bars to pay for my cover and I am sure it makes them look good too."

Broky also hopes that officially organizing the event for one night could lead to bars implementing the policy permanently. The goal is to have tables on North Fourth Avenue, East University Boulevard and in front of Dirtbag's, 1800 E. Speedway Blvd.

Billy Eyrich, manager of Bliss Cafe, 800 E. University Blvd., said he also thought the idea would work well, but that it should continue to more nights.

"We are definitely in favor of a night like that," Eyrich said. "If it was extended to more than one night I would be in favor of giving the designated drivers gift certificates or something like that."

The initial funding for the wristbands, tables and banners will come from ASUA's budget. Broky said she took the idea for the night from an ASUA designated drivers night in 1997.