DUI is a crime that is 100% preventable. Many states receive grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to engage in DUI prevention. Some of the monies received invested in targeted prevention, such as saturation patrols and DUI or license checkpoints. Another way that the money is spent is through educational campaigns. These campaigns let people know to choose a designated driver if they plan on a night of drinking.
Authorities also advise people to call a taxi or use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft to get home if they’ve had too much to drink. Many bars and restaurants are even willing to pay up to a certain amount for an Uber or Lyft ride home if a patron is too intoxicated.
Crosstown reports attempt to answer one specific question: Do services like Uber or Lyft help to reduce DUIs?
In the years 2010 and 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department made about 3,100 DUI arrests annually. Uber arrived in 2012, and Lyft followed in 2013.
By 2017, DUI arrests had fallen by 32% from five years prior. DUI has ticked upwards during 2018 and 2019, though they are still 30% below their 2010 numbers.
While awareness of DUI penalties can have made a difference, the sheriff’s department does give Uber and Lyft credit for some of the decreases in arrests made.
Studies done on the effects of rideshare services in other cities have shown an inconsistent relationship between the number of DUIs and the availability of Uber or Lyft.
Despite the decrease in the number of arrests, DUI still remains a large issue for police departments. According to the sheriff’s department, 5% of the DUI arrests made were for accidents that resulted in injury or death.