Vt. law firm offers to pay for New Year's Eve cab rides

Published: Dec. 29, 2017 at 4:58 PM EST
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New Year's Eve celebrations often come with common denominators.

"It's fun, it's a party, everybody's looking to celebrate," said Brian Frampton of the Salt Hill Pub.

That fun may likely include alcohol. But not everybody makes safe decisions to get home. Attorney Michael Sabbeth wants to change that.

"We're offering free rides home to anybody in all of Vermont or New Hampshire who's out drinking, wherever they might be, and needs to get home safely," Sabbeth said.

Sabbeth is a personal injury lawyer in Woodstock. He makes part of his living representing families of victims who are hurt or killed by drunk drivers. He says seeing the emotional aftermath prompted him to start the "No DWI Sober Holiday Rides Initiative." All you have to do is send him a receipt.

"I haven't represented anybody who would rather, a situation like this, not happen in the first place-- and this is our opportunity to try and make a difference," Sabbeth said.

Sabbeth's law firm began the initiative to keep drunk drivers off the roads at the start of 2017, making this their first New Year holiday. There is no budget and no established cap for total reimbursements.

Over the New Year holiday last year, state troopers in Vermont and New Hampshire each made eight DUI arrests. That does not include arrests made by local police agencies. But in past decade, hundreds of people in both states have been killed in crashes involving drunk driving.

"Whether it's the impaired driver or the innocent people, they're horrific. And if this program can make someone think twice and realize that not only can they get a sober ride, but they can actually get reimbursed for that sober ride, we support it fully," Lebanon Police Sgt. Richard Norris said.

"It's fantastic, it's great," Frampton said. "It makes our night easier, it makes our customers' night easier."

Sabbeth has extended the program to some other major holidays, as well. He says in an odd way, the program's success is dependent on how much they spend.

"I would be very, very happy if we never had another one of these cases," Sabbeth said. "I'd be very happy to go and practice a different type of law."

There are a few restrictions. He caps the amount at $40 and you have a week or so to send in the receipt.