In today’s modern times, apps have given us a plentiful range of different services to purchase and enjoy. Perhaps the most practical of these resources have been the “ride sharing” apps such as Uber, Grabcar, and Lyft. All possessing different strengths and weaknesses in their own right. Beyond these individual pros and cons though, these services have opened the floodgates to a new era of transportation. Suddenly it’s more convenient and affordable than ever to not own a vehicle. And along with this new age comes other, unexpected benefits as well.
The High Cost of Driving Under the Influence
There are few crimes as common, costly, and dangerous to a person as driving under the influence. Not just because the potential loss of life is so great, but also financially as well. When you consider the consequences of being caught, the price is truly monumental. The time it takes to serve as a victim impact panel subtracts from one’s personal and professional time. An online OUI school can cost an upwards of hundreds of dollars, depending on which state you’re in. Attorney fees and court fees are a nuisance to anyone, and having a suspended license will impact a person’s ability to maintain gainful employment. Overall the total cost of getting caught on an OUI can cost upwards of ten thousand dollars or more. All this compared to a fifteen to thirty dollar car ride means that even the most inebriated person will find it a simple decision.
Major Cities, Major Changes
The ride-sharing trend is most noticeably picking up speed in major metropolitan areas, namely Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. All these cities have seen not only a rise in the prevalence of ridesharing services, but a major drop in drunk driving charges. Seattle and San Francisco have seen a ten percent decrease in OUI reports since 2013! Additionally, Miami’s Uber usership tends to peak during the same hours when drunk driving has historically been most prevalent. A similar trend arises in other major metropolitan areas like Pittsburgh where Uber drivers see a sharp spike in business at the same time that bars begin to close down and in Chicago, where there was an unprecedented number of ride sharing requests made on New Year’s Day from establishments with a liquor license. Overall there seems to be a fairly clear correlation between ridesharing apps and a decrease in OUI charges.
The Downside of Ride Sharing Apps
Despite the fact that ride sharing apps have potentially already saved thousands of lives, there are a few issues with the services that have yet to be regulated and continue to worry many. Namely, the fact that these services aren’t fully held accountable if a problem arises. Background checks on drivers are weak at best, and because the service essentially boils down to software on a phone, the only actual disciplinary action that the company can take is firing the driver. Additionally, many are wary because customer information is still available to the driver, even after the ride is over. Ironically, despite the privacy issues, the market is very quickly growing, which means that drivers are in great demand, which means that it’s simply not possible at this stage of growth to weed out the good drivers from the bad. For many, it appears that we’ve hit a point in modern times where the technology far outpaces the laws that can be formed around it.