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Ride-sharing company claims it drives DUIs down

Ride-sharing services are growing in popularity around the nation. One of the most popular of the services - Uber (available in Denver) - is claiming that it is responsible for a drop in DUI arrests. Law enforcement officials are reportedly not convinced that the claim is accurate, however.

A California radio station reports that 20 percent of Uber's Los Angeles weekend business takes place between midnight and 4 a.m., the hours when so many DUI stops are made.

An Uber company spokesperson tells the station that it has some anecdotal evidence that it helps get people too impaired to drive off the roads. The company’s Mexico City operation last month reported that it had to charge 45 customers extra after the people vomited inside the vehicle.

Those cleanups are considered “accidents avoided,” the company spokesperson said, “or at least those were people who were not good to drive.”

In May, the company’s DUI reduction claim was supported by “a simple econometric model” it posted on its website. Fortunately, the study focused on publicly available data and not projectile backseat mishaps.

Uber cited Seattle as a city where its presence has helped reduce DUI arrests by 10 percent. Since the company’s entrance into the market, arrests for driving under the influence have dropped by 0.7 per day, a little over 10 percent. The company acknowledges other factors may have contributed to the reduction but also insists that “the data confirms the intuitive claim, backed up by countless anecdotes, that potential drunk drivers will choose other options,” such as Uber or Lyft (a competitor) when they’re available.   

Regardless of what you make of the company’s claim, we would like to note in closing that experienced attorneys can help those arrested for DUI navigate the legal system.

Source: KPCC, "Uber takes credit for big drop in drunk driving, but police are skeptical," Ben Bergman, July 22, 2014

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