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Ride apps Lyft and Uber and their impact on drunk driving rates

While drivers perhaps expected that the emergence of on-call driver apps such as Lyft and Uber would make it easier to get around without having a car of their own, Spokane's Police Department had other hopes in mind. They expected these ride apps to effectively decrease the driving under the influence (DUI) incidence rate across the city. Representatives with the city say this hasn't been the case though.

During the last three years since these apps first gained popularity in Spokane and parts of neighboring Northern Idaho, police reports show that DUI arrests have remained consistent throughout. In the state of Washington as a whole, there were 1,458 individuals arrested across the seven countries that comprise District 4 in 2010 before Uber came to the area.

By 2016, that number had reached an annual rate of 1,700. That's nearly 250 more arrests for DUI in the post-Uber era than before it. Washington State Patrol reports that increased officer presence in problem areas through a program known as Target Zero has had a significant impact on the increase in DUI arrests. The legalization of marijuana statewide had impacted these numbers as well.

Proponents of ride apps like Lyft or Uber suggest that, by using these services, not only can residents go out and have a good time, but count on getting home safely later that night. They argue that those who drive drunk not only risk being charged with DUI, but hurting both themselves and others in the process.

A DUI conviction on your record can impact your car insurance rates as well as your ability to secure gainful employment. Therefore, if you've been charged with drunk or drugged driving, it's important that you consult a Spokane DUI attorney to learn about what avenue is best to pursue in your criminal case.

Source: KXLY, "DUI arrests still high even with millions using ride apps," Jack Ferris, May 25, 2017

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