Are services like Lyft and Uber helping control drunk drivers on the roads?

Published: Nov. 16, 2018 at 5:52 PM CST
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Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have been in the area for a few years now, with their most popular use being a sober ride home from bars and parties. The hope was they would be an option to cut down on drunk drivers on the road, but statistics say that hasn't happened everywhere in the Valley.

784 DUI arrests were made in Clay County in 2004, and that number dramatically decreases to 418 arrests in 2015.

And last year, there were 160 DUI arrests in West Fargo, whereas this year as of November 5th, there have been 197.

The holiday season brings more parties and more outings to our social calendar, meaning more opportunities for drinking and later trying to find a way to get home.

"Having these services available where they can just call for that service using an app— they don't have to talk to anyone. And it notifies them when they're in route and it notifies them when they're there. It has made a difference in our community," Moorhead officer, Deric Swenson said.

Swenson says rides from Lyft or Uber come in handy— but sometimes riders are forced to wait a few extra minutes. And when it's winter, that's when he says he sees more problems.

"We found people were waiting a half hour, or hour. And a lot of times the bar obviously wanted them out. So, there'd be people outside and after while people were just cold, and fed up with waiting. So they'd make the decision to get their own ride home; A lot of times driving themselves or make their friend who had also been drinking, drive," Swenson said.

But during bar close and other popular ride times, prices can get a little spendy. People tell us they've paid over $150 to just go a few miles, but Swenson points out that's a much cheaper bill than a DUI.

Experts say the amount of drunk drivers triples over the holiday season, reminding people to download ride-share apps or save taxi services in your phone.

"The best thing about (Lyft) is helping. People that were leaving bars drunk, I was helping them out so that they wouldn't get into a car and go drive being drunk and killing somebody or themself," Sara Jones, a former Lyft driver, said.