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Do Uber and Lyft Decrease the Rate of Drunk Driving?

Posted on in DUI

DUI arrest, drunk driving, San Jose DUI defense attorney, DUI defense, Uber and LyftWhen someone drinks alcohol, one of the first things that is affected is their judgment. This impairment to a person’s ability to make responsible decisions is why otherwise-sensible people may get behind the wheel after drinking, and thus endanger people on the road—actions that can potentially lead to a DUI arrest or a car accident.

In the ongoing campaign against drunk driving, safety advocates have encouraged drivers to use alternate methods of transportation after they have been drinking. In recent years, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become available, and these companies have claimed to have reduced the rates of drunk driving. But have they actually made an impact on public safety?

Differing Studies

A number of recent studies have examined the impact that ride-sharing services may have had on drunk driving. One study found that since Uber began operating in New York City in 2011, the number of car accidents in the city involving alcohol dropped by 25 to 35 percent. Statistics show that there may have been a beneficial effect in California as well; between 2012 and 2017, the number of annual arrests for drunk driving decreased by 42 percent.

However, whether Uber and Lyft specifically led to these results is a matter that is up for debate. Surveys have shown that only 15 percent of people in the United States have ever used a ride-sharing service, and 56 percent of those people use these services less than once a month. The rate of DUI arrests and accidents has dropped significantly over the past several decades due to public safety efforts, so these recent decreases may be following national trends unrelated to ride-sharing services.

DUI and Uber and Lyft Drivers

One area that these studies do not address is the possible dangers caused by ride-sharing drivers who drink and drive. The background check processes that Uber and Lyft use for their drivers has undergone a great deal of scrutiny in recent years, and some have claimed that the companies are not doing enough to address DUI complaints about drivers.

California regulators reviewed 154 DUI complaints received about Uber drivers in 2014 and 2015, and they found that in 151 of these incidents, drivers were not suspended or investigated, and many of them continued driving and picking up passengers within an hour of being accused of DUI. Drivers for ride-sharing services are also exempt from the drug and alcohol testing programs that apply to taxi and limousine drivers in California. While Uber and Lyft may claim to reduce drunk driving, many people believe they are not doing enough to ensure that their employees are providing safety for their users.

Contact a San Jose DUI Lawyer

Ideally, the availability of ride-sharing services will help people avoid the possibility of drunk driving, while providing users with safety while they are on the road. However, many people still drink and drive, which can lead to serious consequences if they are arrested.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you need a skilled attorney on your side who can help you avoid the negative consequences of a conviction and get back on the road as soon as possible. Contact a San Jose DUI defense attorney today at 408-246-3004 to schedule a free consultation.


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