Uber launches partnership in South Carolina to curb drunk driving

File/Brad Nettles/Staff Uber has operated in South Carolina since 2014.

Uber announced a partnership Monday to raise public awareness about drunk driving in South Carolina and offer impaired motorists another way to get around.

The ride-hailing service’s new campaign with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Attorney General Alan Wilson is called “SC: Smart Choice,” and it starts Tuesday. Uber said it will donate $2 to MADD for each new rider who uses the promotion code SCSMARTCHOICE to join through Jan. 1.

South Carolina ranks No. 9 in the country for deaths related to drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration, Uber said. A total of 279 fatalities in the state were attributed to drunk driving last year, down from 335 in 2013, according to MADD.

Uber said it wants to put information about its services in hotels and other businesses. The company also said it wants to work with colleges, universities and the military in South Carolina “to enact safe rides programs for students” and to provide rides to service members, respectively.

”If we can raise awareness about this issue, and mobilize local community members to join in a coordinated effort, we believe that Uber can help to make our local roads safer,” Michael Black, general manager for Uber South Carolina, said in a written statement.

Steven Burritt, program director for MADD in South Carolina, said the organization was “thrilled” to be with the new campaign.

Wilson’s office said that more information about the effort will be released in 2016 and that “the partnership is in the early stages.”

Black said Uber has partnered with MADD in the past, but working with an attorney general in this capacity is a first for the company.

Uber is a smartphone application people can use to request a ride from a freelance driver. The San Francisco-based company has operated in Charleston and other markets in the Palmetto State since 2014.

Reach Allison Prang at 843-937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.