By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation is partnering with the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration and ridesharing company Lyft to offer free rides over the holidays. The Gift of Lyft program will provide $10,000 in free rides to prevent impaired driving.

(credit: CBS)

The promotion includes 1,000 Lyft ride credit codes valued at $10 each. Every Thursday in December at 10 a.m., 200 ride credits will launch in specific cities on a first-come, first-served basis for those who sign the Gift of Lyft Pledge.

The cities targeted represent areas where DUI fatalities were the highest in 2019. Codes will be available to residents of the following cities on each launch’s scheduled date:

Thursday, Dec. 3 — Denver
Thursday, Dec. 10 — Colorado Springs
Thursday, Dec. 17 — Thornton
Thursday, Dec. 24 — Denver
Thursday, Dec. 31 — Colorado Springs

“The holidays should be a memorable time for our community, but not because it marks the loss of a loved one due to an impaired driving crash,” said Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. “We will be actively looking for people who fail to plan for a sober ride after using drugs or alcohol.”

(credit: CBS)

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Lyft customers are required to wear a face covering, leave the front seat empty and stay home if they’re sick. The company has a list of COVID-19 precautions on their website.

As of Nov. 1, CDOT reports 168 traffic fatalities involving an impaired driver, which is up 14% from 2019 despite lower traffic volumes. Officials say alcohol use, including excessive drinking, has increased nationally during COVID-19.

In 2019, 171 people died in impairment-related crashes on Colorado roads, accounting for nearly one-third of Colorado’s traffic deaths. The largest increases this year in excessive drinking has been observed in western states, including Colorado, according to CDOT.

Audra Streetman