Ridesharing linked to fewer DWI arrests.

May 03, 2018 11:35 PM

With the click of a button, you can get a ride wherever you need to go using Uber or Lyft.

In cities across the country after ridesharing was launched, there are fewer DWI arrests.

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News10NBC investigating if we're seeing the same impact in the Rochester area

"It gets to me every time," said Peggy Duffy of Monroe County STOP DWI.

Drunk drivers changed her life forever.

"My sister was killed in 1989, by an impaired driver," Duffy said. "22 months later my father was killed and my mom seriously injured by an impaired driver."

As the coordinator for Monroe County STOP DWI, Duffy dedicates her life to making sure other families don't endure the same trauma.

"The bottom line is it didn't have to happen," she said. "Someone made choices that created that reality."

Since July 2017, party goers in Monroe County have another choice thanks to ridesharing.

News10NBC pulled the data. In major cities like Las Vegas and San Diego, two years after ridesharing launched, DWI arrests were down more than 30 percent compared to two years before.

At the same time, News10NBC discovered a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology that found no impact on drunken driving fatalities in any given metropolitan county.

"We would've hoped for a bigger decrease," Duffy said. "However it's the beginning of a program,"

In the last two years, Monroe County DWI arrests dropped slightly, from 2,541 in 2016, to 2,510 in 2017. In Ontario County, DWI arrests are down from 209 to 198 year-to-year. Wayne County also reported a slight decrease over that time period, from 304 to 295 over the same time period.

A much more dramatic drop happened in the Village of Fairport.

"In 2016, here in Fairport, we had 50 DWI arrests," Fairport Police Chief Sam Farina said.  "In 2017, we had 13."

Farina says more people are using ridesharing.

"It's no lack of us trying," he said. "We're out there every night looking for people who are violating the DWI laws."

News10NBC tagged along for a Friday night patrol.

"We definitely have a lively night life," said Fairport Police Officer Chris Dainan.

Dainan patrols the dozen bars and restaurants across the village, stopping any cars speeding, and performing sobriety tests on anyone he suspects might be driving drunk.

Bar goers like Chris Kambar said it's a no brainer how he's getting home.

"It's a lot easier than $10,000 for a DWI or hurting somebody," he said.

Although it's not happening as fast as she'd like, Duffy hopes more people start thinking like Kambar.

Kaci Jones: "What needs to happen so that more people are using ridesharing instead of driving impaired?"
Peggy Duffy, Monroe County STOP DWI: "I think it has to be one an awareness helping people understand that this is something they can do for less money and is available to them within this community."

In Monroe County, officials are constantly promoting ridesharing, partnering with the Blue Cross Arena and other venues to encourage people to find a safe way home after drinking.

Also, there's an app for that. Have a Plan is available in the app and play store for free helps you organize your way home after a night out.


Kaci Jones

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