Have Ride-Sharing Services Decreased Texas DWI Arrests?
Ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber often hail themselves for decreasing the number of crashes and arrests involving people who drive while intoxicated. Arranging for transportation through your phone makes it easier for you to get a ride home when you are too drunk to drive. Various studies have shown that metropolitan areas had decreases in DWI arrests after the ride-sharing services entered their market, but the effect is inconsistent across the different cities. Some researchers believe that the effect of ride-sharing services on DWI arrests and crashes may be overstated.
Researchers had a good opportunity to study the relationship between DWI arrests and ride-sharing services when Lyft and Uber temporarily left some major cities a few years ago, including Austin and San Antonio. Cities such as San Antonio did have a noticeable decrease in alcohol-related crashes when the services returned, but other cities saw little or no change. For instance, the number of DWI arrests continued to decrease in Austin after Lyft and Uber ceased operating there. Thus, researchers state that other factors may be responsible when DWI arrests decrease, such as:
- Public education campaigns;
- Expansions in public transportation; and
- Societal attitudes towards drunk driving.
A Fatal Problem
Texas consistently has the highest number of alcohol-related driving fatalities in the country. The fatality total has slightly increased in Texas during recent years – from 1,323 in 2015 to 1,468 in 2017. Ride-sharing services certainly do not seem to be decreasing the number of deaths. The assumption that ride-sharing will greatly prevent drunk driving is flawed in several ways:
- Intoxicated drivers do not always realize that they should not be driving;
- Someone who wants to avoid driving drunk will still find another means of safe transportation if a ride-sharing service is unavailable;
- An intoxicated driver may be motivated by not wanting to pay for the ride;
- Ride-sharing drivers may not be immediately available, depending on the area and number of requests; and
- Some ride-sharing customers are people without vehicles or who regularly use public transportation.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
The cost of paying for a ride when you are intoxicated is low compared to what you will pay if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated. The maximum fine for a first-time DWI in Texas is $2,000, which does not include the cost of installing an ignition interlock device and reinstating your driver’s license. Your criminal record and lost driving privileges may also cost you your job and make it more difficult to obtain housing or loans. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock understands the true cost of a DWI conviction and how to prevent it. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.