Uber, Lyft could be factor in DUI decreases

Uber, Lyft could be factor in DUI decreases

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - DUI patrols were in full swing on Friday night for the Fourth of July weekend, with a checkpoint and saturation points throughout Pima County.

Friday night was also the first night of lawfully, regulated operations by ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in Arizona, according to a law signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in April 2015.

Uber will be mark its two-year anniversary in Tucson this fall, with Lyft not far behind.

Earlier this year, Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving shared the results of a survey from 807 people across the U.S.

The report found that drunk driving crashes had dropped in Uber's home state of California and that similar situations were likely to occur in other cities where the company operates.

Michael Mallozzi, president of Borderlands Brewing Company, said he's noticed more people are finding a safe way home from the bar in the last year.

"We've definitely seen an uptick in people taking rides home with Uber," he said. "I think it's definitely increased people's responsibility levels."

Mallozzi said he and several other businesses have partnered with Uber recently to help promote local brews and safe ways home after enjoying them. Whether it's taxi cabs or ride-share apps, he said Tucson could always use more options.

"I think the more options out there for people to ride home the better," Mallozzi said.

The number of DUI arrests in Pima County have dropped over the last several years:

  • 2011: 2,608 arrests
  • 2012: 2,350 arrests
  • 2013: 2,492 arrests
  • 2014: 1,291 arrests

Though the number of arrests in 2014 is nearly half of what it was in 2013, Deputy Tom Peine with the Pima County Sheriff's Department said there are too many variables involved to credit one specific reason for the decrease.

"What people need to know is that these are all preventable," Peine said. "People make a choice to get behind the wheel and alcohol affects their judgment."