Safe Rides program reinstated this year

April 24, 2009 — by Elizabeth Lee and Lyka Sethi

After a year of planning, the leadership class will finally revive the Safe Ride program at Saratoga High on April 24. The program provides rides from student and parent volunteers for people who are in any unsafe situation.

Originally Safe Ride was scheduled for April 4, but was delayed due to the Bombay in the Bay activity and a lack of volunteers.

Years ago, Safe Ride had to be shut down due to insurance issues and the headquarters of the program. Now, the leadership class and assistant principal Karen Hyde are “picking it off from the ground” and setting the gears back into place. More than 30 student volunteers have already signed up and completed a mandatory training course.

Leadership students Farid Jiandani, Rishi Taggarsi and Michael Guercio introduced the idea of starting the program at the beginning of this school year. Since November, they have been working behind the scenes, collecting information and dealing with legal issues involving the program.

“After we began working on the program, we realized how many hoops we had to jump through,” said Jiandani. “We had to get insurance for drivers, ensure that both the drivers and passengers would be safe and we had to find an off-campus location—St. Andrew’s—to work from.”

After spending the last several months figuring out the logistics with a district attorney and getting the idea approved by superintendent Cary Matsuoka, the program was finally put into action.

Contrary to popular belief, the program is not only aimed at intoxicated students, but also to those who do not feel like they are in a secure position, according to senior Sanketh Katta.

“If anyone is on a date and they don’t feel safe about it, they can always call [Safe Ride] if they need a ride and we can take them home,” said Katta.

No identification is needed to access the program, which is currently limited to anyone in the Saratoga area. The operating hours of the program are every other weekend, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

“I’ve heard lots of horror stories about people who drive inebriated,” said Jiandani. “I know that even if we get one phone call, it will be worth it.”

For more information, students can contact the Safe Ride program number 408-239-7941.

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