McCOOK, Nebraska — As 2014 comes to an end, the personnel at Janssen Kool Honda in this southern Nebraska town near the Kansas border are ready to snap into action. Every year, the dealer's shuttle drivers are on duty to give free rides to revelers on New Year's Eve.
The idea came from "one of our former sales managers," Dealer Principal Dave Janssen told Edmunds.
In each of the three communities where the company has dealerships, rides are available from 8 p.m. until about 2 a.m., he said.
All anyone has to do is call, Janssen said.
"We put out a press release to tell people about it, and the radio stations, newspaper, and TV are pretty good about publicizing it on the day," he said. "It's a nice way to make sure everybody gets home safely."
Janssen told Edmunds that the shuttle drivers' feedback is that people are "very appreciative" of the free rides, and the service does get used, with an estimated 50 rides given every New Year's Eve.
This dealership's community-service project addresses a major safety concern during the holidays.
"During the six major holiday periods, 40 percent of motor-vehicle crash fatalities involve a drunk driver," according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's December 2013 safety report.
In just the few days surrounding Christmas and New Year's Eve, an average of 304 people die in drunk-driving crashes.
Edmunds says: This is a classic win-win situation. It's good publicity for the dealerships, and a valuable service for the local communities they serve.