A federal judge has rejected a proposed $3M class-action settlement...

A federal judge has rejected a proposed $3M class-action settlement between Uber and city drivers. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Uber is teaming with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to provide free rides across Long Island on Thanksgiving Eve — typically one of the busiest drinking nights of the year.

The ride-hailing company will provide two free rides, up to $15 apiece, to Nassau and Suffolk residents and visitors from 9 p.m. Wednesday through 3 a.m. Thursday.

Thanksgiving Eve is known as “Blackout Wednesday” and is often associated with binge drinking and a large number of DWI arrests.

“We hope that Long Island residents decide to leave their cars at home on Wednesday and use options like Uber to get around,” said Sarfraz Maredia, general manager of Uber for the tristate region.

Richard Mallow, executive director of MADD, called the holiday season “one of the most dangerous times of the year on the road because of the increased frequency of drunk driving.”

In 2016, there were 394 alcohol-related crashes with injuries — 35 with fatalities — in Suffolk, according to data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. In Nassau, there were 313 alcohol-related crashes with injuries, 22 with fatalities, the data show.

In total last year, there were more than 9,600 DWI arrests in Nassau and Suffolk, according to institute data.

“Drunken driving kills too many in our communities and this important initiative will save lives,” said Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the free rides would “incentivize residents to stay off the road.”

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft began legally operating across the state in June.

Long Islanders can access the free rides through Uber’s cellphone app by navigating to the menu, tapping “payment” and entering the promo code “SAFERIDELI.”

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