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DUI rates skyrocket after Uber and Lyft leave Austin

It seems every other week there is a news story about one city or another battling with Uber or Lyft over taxes, regulations or licensing. Austin, in an unusual twist, ejected any ride-sharing company that refused to comply with the City’s regulations for taxi services. The City touted it as a victory for public safety over zealous business pursuits, however, the reality is more nuanced. According to data from the Austin Police Department, DUI arrests have spiked since Uber and Lyft ceased operations within the city.

In 2014, before ridesharing came to Austin, there were an estimated 525 DUI arrests a month. But, once those numbers were revisited after Uber arrived in Austin, they were revised down five percent. Furthermore, in 2015, DUI arrests dropped an additional 12 percent, or to about 438 arrests a month.

Finally, in May of 2016, the month that Lyft and Uber vacated Austin, DUI arrests were down to 358 per month, a dramatic reduction in crime. But, within the first few months of the ridesharing departure, DUI arrests increased by 7.5 percent. In July of 2016 alone, there were 476 drunken driving arrests.

Are you charged with a crime? If so, you should contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal charges are best confronted early and head-on. The longer you wait to craft a defense, the more time the prosecutor has to gather evidence and the more time they invest in the case. Perversely, the more time the prosecutor spends working a case, the less likely she is to offer a fair plea bargain. A defense attorney can help you gather exculpatory evidence and work with the prosecutor to ensure that your rights are respected.

Source: Foundation for Economic Education, “Without Uber or Lyft, Austin Experiences Skyrocketing DUI Rates,” Brittany Hunter, January 4, 2016

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