Saving Lives with Safe Rides


Brooke Johnston, Staff Writer

A surefire way to scare yourself is looking at teenage drinking and driving statistics. Lethal crashes related to juvenile intoxication cut far too many lives short and make us wonder if there is any action we can take to alleviate the sickening trend. Although the statistics depict enormous amounts of damage to even attempt to fix, we can all start somewhere. And that somewhere is Safe Rides.

SCV Safe Rides is a service that aims to prevent deaths from teenage drinking and driving by offering free car rides to callers not in a healthy position to return home themselves. Better yet, those who need to utilize the service won’t feel embarrassed for doing so because they are being chauffeured by someone their age who won’t judge them, and their identity is kept completely anonymous. Adolescents recovering from parties on Fridays and Saturdays can call the number 661-259-6330 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. to receive assistance. Teenagers feel safe, secure and understood when volunteers their age are driving them home.

Not sure where to start? Want to help? Kate Gabon, a senior here at West Ranch and vice president of SCV Safe Rides, can tell you more about it.

Gabon expressed her steadfast passion for the service and Safe Rides’ mission statement, saying that their main goal is saving the lives of teens by removing them from difficult circumstances.

“If they’re in a bad situation, like if they have an unsafe driver or can’t drive themselves home, we just want to prevent them from drinking and driving and getting into a car accident,” the senior said.

Although one might expect the amenity to be a hassle to use, SCV Safe Rides works to achieve simplicity and convenience for adolescents in need.

“They just call us, and we ask them a couple simple questions like their name, how old they are and where they want to go,” Gabon explained. “And then within ten to fifteen minutes, we’ll be there at their location and ready to pick them up.”

Not only are the cars immediately on the road, but the drivers keep their information and situation to themselves. Teens are far more likely to ask for assistance getting home when they know they won’t be judged for the conditions they’re picked up in; this simple acceptance is a policy that has saved lives.

The hardworking Vice President has been a volunteer for the life-saving program since the beginning of her sophomore year. Her time working with SCV Safe Rides has shaped the way she views drinking and driving and just how directly people can make a difference in their community.

   “I’ve had a really positive experience with Safe Rides,” she began. “I’ve met a lot of people across the valley that I never would have met before if I hadn’t joined Safe Rides, and it gives me sort of warm fuzzies knowing that you could have possibly saved a life just by taking their call.”

Offering to work with Safe Rides isn’t the typical experience students usually undergo to complete service hours for clubs. Volunteers develop invaluable life skills like leadership, responsibility and a level of maturity many often don’t assume in their high school years.

“People should volunteer for Safe Rides not only because it’s a great community service organization, but it’s also very low-commitment,” Gabon said with a smile. “So if you’re very busy with sports, work, other volunteering things, you only have to volunteer around once a month, max once every three months. You can earn up to five hours every time you work.”

Safe Rides is an incredibly impactful organization based on teenage contribution, and the influence it has on our community is enormous, however silent. Anyone interested in decreasing the amount of lethal accidents in their hometown should look into helping Safe Rides. Too young to drive or don’t have a license? You can work the phones. Not many community service opportunities match the positive power SCV Safe Rides places into the hands of students and is a life-altering opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up.

Those interested in lending a hand can contact vice president Kate Gabon, or co-presidents and West Ranch students Lauren Bensmiller and Rijker Hutson for more details about how to get started. Additional information is also available at The program is having its last training of the year on Sept. 8 from 12-4 p.m. at Henry Mayo Center, so make sure to attend if you’re interested in offering your assistance. 

Put it this way: Who wouldn’t want to save a life?