An alternative when teens GotToGo

Andrew Horsey (rear, center) with his wife, Jennifer, and children — Mac, 14, and Meghan, 15.

Andrew Horsey knows teens sometimes get themselves in situations where they’d rather not have to call home for help. So, the south Charlotte father of two teenagers created GotToGo, and he’s hoping it becomes something that keeps kids out of harm’s way.

GotToGo provides a driving service for teenagers in tough or dangerous situations, giving them a way home so they can leave without having to call their parents and risk punishment.

“The bottom line was that the more we talked about this we realized the kids don’t call for (parents) to come pick them up,” Horsey said. “Most people didn’t call their parents to come and pick them up out of bad situations.”

The program works by first having parents sign their kids up for GotToGo. Then, teenagers can text a special number they’re given and a car will come pick them up, dropping them off at one of four pre-set residential locations. After being picked up, the child will be given a snack and drink on the way to their drop off location, which must be a pre-approved residence.  Drop offs at locations that are not residences, such as movie theaters or malls, will not be allowed.

The service was not created to be a drunken driving or designated driving service but a way for teenagers to be able to leave a situation where they do not feel comfortable.  Although the week-old service has not been utilized yet, Horsey has had many parents sign their children up for GotToGo.

“We like to make sure the kids are going to use the service, but the parents have to agree for the kids to use it,” he said.  “In the event the service is used the teenager, once approved, will receive our individual short code that they text us.”

Car wrecks are a leading cause of death for teenagers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics show 31 percent of 15 to 20 year olds were drinking at the time of wrecks. Horsey hopes teens will use his service as an alternative to getting in the car with someone who’s been drinking.

Parents can pay $9.99 per month or $100 for a whole year of service, and only three rides in a 12-month period are included.  All rides after that will be $50 per ride.  The driving service is only available Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“It’s not a drunk driving service.  It’s not a designating driving service.  It’s for the kid who wants to get out of a bad situation,” Horsey said.  He does not want his service to turn into a carpool for teenagers on the weekends.  It should only be used as a last resort.

GotToGo’s drivers are put through background checks, drug tests and checks to ensure they are licensed.  The goal of the driving service is to make sure the teenagers, as well as the parents, feel safe.

“At the end of the day bad decisions are being made because they don’t want mom and dad to know, so we made the decision to provide a very good service for kids to be taken home and to make good decisions,” Horsey said.

Find more information or register for the program at its website, www.gtgamerica.com.

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