As Austin Struggles To Understand Life Without Uber & Lyft, DUI Arrests On The Rise

from the not-cool dept

A month ago, folks in Austin Texas voted against a proposition that Uber and Lyft supported, concerning a number of new rules that would be put on ride hailing operations. Given that, both companies immediately shut down operations in Austin -- a city with over a million residents and only 900 cabs. In response, people are so desperate for rides that they're seriously trying to recreate the Lyft/Uber experience by using a Facebook group where people can post their location, negotiate a fee, and have someone pick them up (something that seems a lot more dangerous than typical Uber/Lyft).


DUI (driving under the influence) arrests have gone up by 7.5% compared to the previous year.

This does not mean that Uber/Lyft leaving is absolutely the cause, as there may be lots of other factors. But the anecdotal evidence certainly suggests it's having an impact. From the Vocative story linked above:

“The first Friday and Saturday after Uber was gone, we were joking that it was like the zombie apocalypse of drunk people,” Cooper said.

People were so desperate for rides, she said, that she’d pull up to a corner and pedestrians would offer to hop in her car as soon as they spotted her old Uber and Lyft emblems in the windshield. “They don’t even know who I am,” she chuckled in amazement.

Even more troubling than the late-night pedestrian concern is Austin’s rampant drunk driving problem—last year the city had more than 5,800 DWI arrests, according to police data. Back in December the city’s Police Chief Art Acevedo expressed concern for how an Uberless Austin would affect the road safety. “If we take away the (ride-hailing firms) here and in other cities, it definitely will impact DWI,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it.”

No matter what you think of Lyft or Uber, it's pretty clear that they're very, very useful services for lots of people -- and that includes drunk people who no one should want behind the wheel themselves. Putting in place regulations to limit those services seems to be backfiring, and hopefully it doesn't lead to loss of life either through drunk driving or less safe drivers making use of the informal Facebook groups.

Filed Under: austin, dui, dwi, innovation, ride hailing, ride sharing, texas
Companies: lyft, uber


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    Nobody's forcing you to use Uber and Lyft.

    And Uber and Lyft were, reportedly, cheaper than using taxis.

    How is that squeezing more money out of anyone?

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