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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Ride-sharing programs are not proven to combat drunken driving

Conflicting reports disagree about the helpfulness of ride-sharing programs when it comes to preventing drunken driving fatalities. Washington residents might like to know if companies like Uber and Lyft make roads safer.

Two universities compared data in 100 of the most popular metropolitan cities before and after ride-sharing programs came along and found that these services made no impact on traffic fatalities related to alcohol consumption. If this study is right, an intoxicated person might not have the decision making capabilities to conclude on a safer option while cost could also be a factor. However, there is a study that does say that ride-sharing programs have contributed to making roads safer.

A 2015 study that only examined California found that there was a correlation between Uber services and a decrease in alcohol-related vehicle fatalities. This study did not control for other factors while the metropolitan area study reportedly did. A June 2016 report also saw that fatal accidents decreased when ride-sharing programs were available.

The company noted that their drivers are busiest at times when users are more likely to be drinking. Uber also commented that 80 percent of riders have said that they avoid drunken driving by using Uber instead.

Those who are charged with drunken driving face severe consequences if convicted, and fines and jail time may be worse if convicted with a felony DUI. Felony DUIs might occur if one has several alcohol-related misdemeanors or if an accident takes place where someone is injured or killed, but any DUI charge could potentially be fought or negotiated. An attorney may be able to evaluate a defendant's case in order to come up with an appropriate course of action.

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