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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Sobrio app to help students find designated drivers

Sobrio, an application to help students find safe ways back to campus after a night out, is launching on Stony Brook’s campus on August 30 and has already been used at other schools.

Designated drivers can earn up to $140 per night by working with the Sobrio app. (PHOTO CREDIT: SOBRIO)
Designated drivers can earn up to $140 per night by working with the Sobrio app. (PHOTO CREDIT: SOBRIO)

“We’re providing an elegant platform for students to help each other out, and make their campus a safer place…through collaborative consumption,” Nadav Ullman, co-founder of Sobrio, said.

The application is available through iTunes and allows a student to create a profile with his or her name, picture and a list of previous rides displayed publicly.

To connect with a designated driver, the student simply enters his location, destination and the number of people with him requiring a ride.

Designated drivers then receive a request from Sobrio on their mobile phones and can notify the passenger of their offer.

“Once a designated driver offers a ride, the user is notified instantly,” Ullman said. “You press a button on your phone, and before long, a friend with a car materializes right in front of you. It’s pretty magical.”

Students then have the option of accepting or declining the ride.

Ullman and his co-founder, Tom Bachant, launched Sobrio in September 2012 at the University of Connecticut to ensure student safety from drinking and driving. They realized that students there did not have a way to connect with other students for safe ride, and are excited that since the launch of their application, according to Ullman, drinking and driving have been reduced by 40 percent.

He and Bachant have plans to launch Sobrio at several other institutions, including the University of Rhode Island, University of Massachusetts, Ohio University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

Ullman encourages students to use the application to receive safe rides, saying “Sobrio is a peer-to-peer network for college students who would like to share rides with each other. It is an easy and fun way to get home safely.”

The most exciting part, according to Ullman, is the cost.

Sobrio  is  less expensive than getting a ride from a taxi because, he said, that price is determined by the designated driver, who suggests a price for his or her service.

“With Sobrio, you are connecting to a peer in your own network, so it a more comfortable experience,” Ullman said. “Sobrio creates a peer-to-peer network that connects those who need safe rides to the designated drivers on campus.”

Bachant added that the application already has more than 2,000 users, all college students.

Stony Brook Compliments partnered with Sobrio with the goal of reducing the act of drinking and driving. Founder Daniel Ahmadizadeh, a junior business major, came across Sobrio’s website and “saw a…demand for this at Stony Brook,” he said.

Ahmadizadeh added that “Stony Brook University Compliments is trying to impact the world in the community” and the partnership with Sobrio is just one part of that mission.

Junior health sciences major Sandy Ren plans to use the application when out with her friends, as opposed to a cab service. She resides on campus, and suggested her fellow Stony Brook students not only use a bus or shuttle to go somewhere, but to rely on Sobrio as well.

“It’s all under an app and it’s safe to use,” she said, adding that she believes “students will use it more because it’s cheaper and more effective.”

Junior chemistry and economics major Alexander Benoit often uses taxis to reach his destination and thinks Sobrio will be more convenient for him.

“The app will benefit me by getting me to places safely,” he said. “It can be very handy to students.”

According to the Stony Brook University Compliments Facebook page, designated drivers can receive up to $140 per night.

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    Glenn WillchukAug 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Sobrio sounds like a great idea but did the creators consider the all the legal ramifications. Because the designated drivers are being paid to perform services similar to that of taxis with their personal vehicles the law might consider them as illegal taxis. Illegal because they are unlicensed and not properly insured for transporting people for hire. If an accident were to occur and someone was to get seriously injured or heaven forbid killed the designated driver’s insurance provider would likely leave them hanging and they could be held liable and personally sued. Where I live they could also be fined $5,000 for breaking our local taxi by-law. It’s possible that Sobrio might also be held liable because they helped coordinate the ride through their technology.