Local Lawyer Pledges to Help Holiday Drivers Too Tipsy to Drive
LOWELL -- Fourth of July, known for family, food and fireworks, is also notorious for being among the deadliest holidays to be on the road due to crashes involving drunk drivers.
Lowell-based defense attorney Gregory Oberhauser is implementing a program to combat such tragedies, while also preventing the fallout for those facing a potential drunk driving charge.
This is how the program works: For resident in Middlesex, Essex, Worcester, Suffolk and Norfolk counties (21 or older), who had too much alcohol drink, call a cab, or request and UBER or Lyft, rather than driving yourself home. Pay the driver and then send the bill, with valid identification, to Oberhauser Law.
Oberhauser will reimburse the responsible party up to 100 percent of their receipt amount, up to $35.
The reimbursement program will be available until Saturday. It is good for a one-way and one reimbursement is limited per person.
“If we can stop some of the problems with drunk driving, I thought we’d make the effort to do that,” said Oberhauser, pointing out the idea was suggested by his wife, Kim.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has statistics on their website showing 188 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. That’s an increase of 28 percent in 2015, when there was 146 fatalities.
Getting pulled over has a tendency to be devastating in other ways as well.
Oberhauser, a defense attorney since 1999, estimates 70 percent of his practice deals with drunk-driving charges.
“When you take the breath test, and blow over 0.08, you are not going to be able to drive for 30 days,” Oberhauser said. “If you refuse the breath test, you’re not going to be able to drive for 180 days. I would imagine a lot of people use that car to get to work, so that right there is an eye-opening experience.”
Then there’s the financial demands of hiring an attorney to deal with the charges in court, along with any court penalties and insurance rate spikes.
Oberhauser estimated, even on a first offense drunk driving charge, the offender could be facing a financial loss of more than $10,000.
To receive a reimbursement, get a receipt from the cab driver, or ride-sharing service, used for the ride. Send the receipt and a copy of a valid identification to Free for the 4th Ride Program, Oberhauser Law, 287 Appleton St., Suite 207, Lowell, MA 01852.
For questions on eligibility for the program, email email@example.com or call 978-452-1116.
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis