We are all aware of the drunk driving epidemic in this country. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by a drunk driver in some way. That is why advocates against drunk driving are so important to our lives and our community. Sober Sam is a local group of heroes in New Jersey that are doing their part to put an end to drunk driving with their designated driver service.
Sober Sam founder and owner, Jerry Adams is very passionate about promoting safe decisions while drinking. His company is much more than a taxi service, they will come to you and drive you home in your own car; ensuring that both you and your vehicle arrive home safe after a night of drinking.
We got the opportunity to talk with Mr. Adams about his business and service he is providing to our community:
Where did the idea for Sober Sam come from?
It was kind of a culmination of three different things. Between the simple fact that my daughter, who is now 21, just getting her license. Then a good friend of mine was a Marine and in between his two tours in Iraq he was home on vacation and was drinking and couldn’t drive, so he fell asleep in his Jeep in the bar parking lot because he knew he couldn’t drive and he still got written a DUI for it. After there was a friend of mine who passed away drinking and driving. So a culmination of all three kind of put the wheels in motion for Sober Sam.
How did the business start?
I’ve never owned a business before. So I had to come up with obviously the insurance, which is a big deal, learning how to start a business, and get everything correct in the right way. It took months to get the insurance, to get somebody to write us specifically for Sober Sam. We haven’t looked back since.
How long have you been doing this?
We became [a] LLC in September of ’09, but we officially started on January 1st of 2010. I mean we went out before that, but it was more trial runs and seeing what we needed to do to improve it. The first night that we went out—me, my daughter, and a friend—we went out at 1 o’clock in the morning to P.J/ Whelihan’s in Cherry Hill and got overwhelmed. We had six rides in 45 minutes, which we couldn’t physically do as three people. So we had to revamp and pull back. Then we launched it in January.
Where do you service currently?
We do primarily Camden County with parts of Burlington and parts of Gloucester. Right now we have five cars that are constantly moving.
What would you say is the busiest time of the year?
Fortunately, it’s steadily growing. There is not a busy time or slow time. People drink seven days a week—not always the same person—but people drink seven days a week it’s not something that’s going away, especially with the recession. The recession is the one thing they were drinking less expensive beers or less expensive drinks but they were still drinking. It’s nonstop growing for us.
Where do you want Sober Sam to go?
There’s a definite market for it [designated driving service] and we would like to go nation-wide. Obviously we have to take it baby steps. We just started another service also, it’s called a Hire-a-Driver Program. Basically, right now we only get you home safe, we are the people who help get you and your car home. The new service you can rent a driver by the hour if you wanted to go [from bar to bar].
What would you say is the biggest thing that differentiates your service from a taxi service?
Your car gets home. That’s a big deal on a physical level, but more importantly the people that work with Sober Sam all have their stories. They take this very personal. We’re not in this for the money. If we could do it for free we would, but the state didn’t have any funding available to do it as a non-profit originally. My drivers will stand out for sure. They care that people get home in one piece without a DUI. Most of my drivers have other jobs, all walks of life, all ages, but they all have a reason to be here and it’s not the money. We’re drinkers too, we’re not anti-drinking and we’re not here to preach to anybody. I just personally will not get behind the wheel if I have had a sip of alcohol—I have to lead by example.
You can contact Sober Sam in advance to make a reservation or at any time by calling (856) 520-5679. You can also visit their website for more information about how Sober Sam can help you, and how they may even save your life.
If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of a drunk driver contact the New Jersey car accident attorneys at Console & Associates P.C. today. You can set up your free, confidential consultation by calling us at (866) 778-5500.