Uber Effect on DWI Non-Existent in Austin’s First Weekend Without Ride Sharing
Uber and Lyft, the app-based ride-sharing services have become quite popular for people who either don’t use taxi’s or public transportation due to convenience or lack of service. They are easy to use and the prices are usually much better than the traditional means of acquiring transportation. So popular that there is a so-called Uber effect on the way we get around. Among other facets of life, there has been deemed an Uber effect on DWI. Basically, as the theory goes, Uber is easy, cheap, and taking intoxicated drivers off of the road by being a very desirable alternative to a taxi (or a police car).
With there being some issues of a criminal nature concerning Uber drivers (and Lyft, but I’m going to say Uber throughout) cities have started new attempts to regulate these drivers. The big sticking point in Austin is fingerprint based background checks. Really shouldn’t be an issue but it is. Uber said that they would pull out of Austin and basically that would spell trouble because of the Uber effect on DWI.
Well, they left Austin and last weekend was the first weekend without ride-sharing programs. So, what are the results? Is there an Uber effect on DWI? Answer, in preliminary results, would suggest….no.
Last year during the weekend of May 15-17, Austin police arrested 50 people for DWI and 46 on the weekend before that. This year, they arrested 50 people for DWI and 44 on the weekend before. Numbers are steady. However, as the police stated in an Austin American Statesman article, a number of things can affect the total of DWI arrests including weather and events. I think in Austin, the telling number will come in the fall.