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'Arrive Alive' Offers Free Rides Home to Tipsy Teens

January 01, 1987|JOHN L. MITCHELL | Times Staff Writer

Beverly Hills teen-agers who sample too much holiday cheer over the New Year's weekend will be offered a free taxi ride home, thanks to an organization seeking to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Arrive Alive, founded two years ago after a traffic accident involving a Beverly Hills teen-ager who survived but suffered brain damage, and a drunk driver, started the free ride program seven months ago with the help of the Beverly Hills Cab Co. and the Maple Center, a family counseling center.

The program, which normally operates Friday and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., was expanded to include Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the New Year's weekend through Saturday.

"If someone who lives in Beverly Hills calls and needs help, a cab will pick the caller up and take him or her home," said Linda Roberts, a vice president of Arrive Alive. Beverly Hills teen-agers who are unable to drive home because they have had too much to drink can call (213) AR-ALIVE.

Roberts said about 80 students have been given free rides since the program began after last year's senior prom in May. Those who live outside Beverly Hills are referred to other safe-ride programs.

The phones are answered by student volunteers under the supervision of adults at the Maple Center. The callers remain anonymous. "The beauty of the program is that the teen-agers are involved," Roberts said. "Because it is anonymous, it builds trust; kids want their anonymity respected."

Siroos Moatazedi, general manager of the Beverly Hills Cab Co., said his company was eager to donate the taxi rides. "We only take kids home. We don't take them to another bar or to another party," he said.

In addition to the free ride program, Arrive Alive distributes posters, bumper stickers and sweat shirts. The group also made a video with the city's Police Department dramatizing how alcohol impairs a driver.

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