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News
Cats RIDDE offers free, safe service


Photo
MALLORY LORING/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Cats RIDDE Recruiting Chairman Jeremy Sasser, left, and Jason Cobb, club president, discuss the benefits of the Cats RIDDE program.
By Dana Crudo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 8, 2003

Now that ASUA has ended its contract with Lifeline, a new organization, Cats RIDDE, has stepped up to the plate to fill the shoes of the service that offered to drive drunk students home for free.

Cats Realizing the Importance of Designated Driving Escort (Cats RIDDE), a student-run organization, hopes to provide a safe, free and reliable designated driving service to protect the lives of students.

"The organization is student-run, with people that have a lot of dedication to it," said Jeremy Sasser, pre-physiological sciences junior and recruiting chair for Cats RIDDE.

In order to gain support, the club has gone to bars on East University Boulevard and North Fourth Street, and has been given permission to hang flyers and banners so students know whom to call in order to get home safely.

"Students shouldn't have to make a choice on whether to drive drunk or not. They shouldn't even have to touch their keys," said Jason Cobb, the founder and president of Cats RIDDE.

"We want to show people how unnecessary it is to drive drunk," he said. "I don't want people saying they had to drive."

Cobb, a molecular and cellular biology senior, got the idea for the organization after having a few drinks in Texas. He didn't want to drive and was then told about CARPOOL, a Texas A&M organization that provides driving services to drunk youth. Soon he realized that if such a program could work there, it could work here at the UA.

"Everyone is affected by drunk driving," Cobb said, "Our kids will come here when we are gone, and with this program, we won't have to make sure they are safe."

The program will run three nights a week, Thursday through Saturday from 11p.m. 3 a.m. The organization will service a 5-mile radius around campus and will only take students and their guests home.

Cats RIDDE volunteers will drive rental cars. Four cars will be used four nights a week, costing $25 each with a total budget of $51,000 a year. The club is looking for sponsors to cover the costs.

The drivers will be trained in defensive driving techniques, self-defense methods, alcohol awareness and alcohol-poisoning recognition. They will also be required to attend a brief CPR/first-aid training session.

Volunteers will have to sign contracts agreeing to abide by the rules and laws of the organization.

"Joining the club will allow students to have honest, clean fun at college," Cobb said. "The volunteers are the life of the program."

Any student can become an active member, and alumni and non-students can become associate members. Members will be rewarded with four social events, as well as a retreat at the end of the year.

"If you want to save lives you should become a member, we are students saving students' lives," said Katie Daubert, an anthropology junior and vice president of Cats RIDDE.

Executive members hope the club will be running by early October and will have at least 30 student volunteers, so members will only have to work once per week.

"We are an honorable program, the community will want to take us in, we're really here to stay," Cobb said.

The organization has had its constitution and bylaws read by legal services. Five insurance policies have been established, including liability and medical insurance.

If you are interested in becoming a member, fill out an application at: www.catsride.com.

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