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Uber Departure Does Lead to More DWI’s in Austin

Uber Departure Does Lead to More DWI’s in Austin


It had been speculated and the early returns did not show the anticipated result,  but the bigger picture is starting to indicate that the ride sharing services of Uber and Lyft did affect the number of DWI arrests in Austin.  In a previous post, I discussed the departure of the companies from Austin after the city wanted more regulation.  An argument for the programs to remain was the impact they had in DWI arrests.  Many thought this was a smoke screen and invalid, but the numbers in May don’t lie.

From May 9 – May 31 2016, Austin had 359 DWI arrests, up from 334 the previous year, which is an increase of 7.5%.  That’s about 8 per week.  Over a year, that is over 400 DWI’s that may have been prevented with alternative transportation.  The number is big.  The city of Austin needs to rethink it’s stance and work with Uber and Lyft to get the services back on the road and potential DWI’s off of it.

Below is the article from KEYE:

DWI arrests have spiked since Uber and Lyft left Austin. The Austin Police Department released new numbers to KEYE TV that show there were 359 DWI arrests from May 9, the day Uber and Lyft shut down, to May 31st of this year. Last year during the same time period, there were 334 arrests. That’s a 7.5 percent increase in the weeks following their departure.

“It’s an everyday pain that you live with,” said Deborah Tatum.

Tatum wishes for one more day with her son Greg. She spends his birthday every May at his grave. “We take lots of balloons and confetti and decorations and we decorate my son’s grave. That’s all we have of him is his grave,” said Tatum.

He was 20 years old when a friend drove drunk and killed Greg and another young person. “When Greg was killed, we made it our mission as a family,” said Tatum.

A mission to stop drunk drivers.

Greg’s brother started driving for Uber. “When Brian had the chance to drive for Uber that was his goal. To take as many drunks off the road to save the families from going through what we’re going through,” said Tatum.

She believes Uber and Lyft were saving lives. “I knew the numbers would go up. Everybody knew the numbers would go up,” said Tatum.

Tatum would like to see Uber and Lyft return because they made it cheap and easy for drunk drivers to get home safely. “Nobody wants that phone call. No one wants a knock on the door that says you’re loved one has died from something that can be prevented,” said Tatum.

When asked for a comment on the numbers, APD issued the following statement:

Data set is too limited to draw any conclusions. However, anytime we experience an increase in DWI it is cause for concern.

A number of other factors could also affect those numbers, but KEYE TV will keep tracking them.