Bakersfield Now Fox 58 Eyewitness News reports that the imminent withdrawal of rideshare companies Uber and Lyft from the California market due to new legislation may lead to an increase of drunk drivers on California roads as people have fewer options to get home without getting behind the wheel of a car.
At issue is new legislation that requires the two companies to hire drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, a decision that resulted in the companies withdrawing from the state. While this had been scheduled to go into effect on Thursday at midnight, an appeals court has allowed the two companies to continue to operate as-is until their appeal works their way through the court system.
While workers’ rights advocates hail the new legislation, victims of impaired drivers, and their families, have spoken up about the risks of the law and its potential to take away a primary alternative for impaired drivers to get home without driving. Bakersfield Police have also noted that the rate of DUI is potentially likely to increase as a result of Uber and Lyft ceasing operation in the state, stating that rideshare services provide a public safety benefit.
A Bakersfield Police Department sergeant noted “Any resource that is available to community members that would allow them to not drive their own vehicle when they’ve consumed alcohol is definitely a boon. You can’t argue with that.”