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Uber Launches Free Rides for Drinkers

We've all swung by the bar for a quick happy hour cocktail and, several hours and many drinks later, realized that it's 11 o'clock and we somehow have to get home.

Fear not: thanks to Uber, those who over-imbibe will now have a safe way to get home free of charge. Late last week, the ridesharing app announced that it will begin providing complimentary rides home to drinkers in Hanoi and Saigon.

Partnering with roughly 30 bars and clubs in the two cities, the company plans to install UberSafe kiosks outside downtown drinking establishments. These machines are equipped with a breathalyzer, allowing drinkers to test their own blood alcohol level. If a person exceeds the legal limit for safe driving, the UberSafe kiosk will automatically request an Uber car to take the individual home.

After Canada, Vietnam is the second country in Uber's 60-nation network to receive this service, which the company is launching as part of its campaign to promote traffic safety. According to Uber's press release, 36.9 percent of traffic-related deaths in Vietnam stem from drunk driving accidents.

In a country where driving under the influence is common, this is just one of several measures being taken to prevent drunk drivers on Vietnam's roads. Last week, Tuoi Tre also reported that the Ministry of Transport plans to submit a new draft decree on traffic violations next month. If approved, the decree would raise drunk driving fines for both automobile and motorbike drivers, hiking the fines up to as much as VND15 million for cars and VND4 million for motorbikes.

In addition to heavier financial penalties, drunk drivers whose blood alcohol level exceeded a certain limit would also have their licenses revoked for three months instead of the current two-month period.

In Vietnam, motorists with a blood alcohol level which exceeds .025 percent can be charged with drunk driving.

[Top image via Stacklab]

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