PARIS - A safe ride program set to begin this weekend in Lamar County to transport citizens needing a ride home has postponed the start of operations until December 29.
Dylan’s Drivers is named after Dylan Ballard, who died from injuries sustained from an alcohol-related crash in July. His parents, Vicki and Ronnie, have since formed the organization to prevent others from suffering the same result.
The program's facebook page indicates says they want to absolutely be prepared when they start giving rides, therefore the delay.
Speaking on last week’s edition of The Lead, Vicki Ballard explained, “We have a telephone number that comes into the headquarters of Dylan’s Drivers that is operational from 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.”
She says the program is not only for people who have had too much to drink, but for those who don’t feel comfortable riding with someone else, hence the safe ride idea.
The Ballards were presented with the idea for a safe ride program prior to Dylan’s funeral. In the weeks to follow they began researching how to properly run such an organization, even participating in the safe ride program at Stephen F. Austin. They have since received non-profit 501(c)(3) status and appointed a board of directors. A temporary headquarters has been set up at 1425 20th St. N.E., suite 300.
“We felt like our community needed this. It’s not only for young people, although it is for young people. But we don’t care if you’re a 50 year old that needs a ride home, or you’re a 15 year old. We’re not the police; we’re not your parents. We just want people to be off the road and safe,” Ballard said.
Each passenger will be picked up in a vehicle accompanied by a man and woman volunteer with the program. Ballard says drivers will not ask for your last name, and all information is kept confidential.
Ballard added, “If we can prevent one set of parents from walking where Ronnie and I are walking, then what is that worth? It’s worth everything to us. Our goal is to prevent tragedy from happening in our community.”
Those seeking a safe ride Thursday through Saturday between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. can call 903-905-4959. You can learn more at their facebook page, Dylan’s Drivers.
A training session will be held Saturday, Dec. 3rd at 3:00 p.m. at the Dylan's Drivers headquarters.
Above, listen to an interview with Dylan's Drivers Co-Founder and Vice-President Vicki Ballard. Original air date: 11-25-11.