Transportation alternatives, including busses, trains, and cabs can help make sure drivers and their passengers get home safely after a night out. Uber, a growing transportation service, could provide a local alternative to reduce DUIs. So why is there pushback in Birmingham? Recent reports indicate that Birmingham Council members have delayed action on updating codes regarding taxi and vehicles for hire. Uber officials have called the proposals “antiquated and restrictive.” Now the company is taking on council and urging locals to lobby against the proposed rules, which would prevent transportation options like Uber.
Current legislation restricts Birmingham residents from accessing alternative transportation options, which evidence has shown to reduce the number of DUIs in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Under the current code, cars and drivers who contract for hire are operating illegally. Our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys are committed to reducing DUIs and DUI accidents. We are also committed to defending individuals who have been charged. In addition to representing members of the Birmingham community, we are also abreast of local and national issues that influence DUI prevention.
Though leaders claim they are working towards a code remodeling that would allow Uber to operate, there have been delays. Council members have consulted with Uber and could be working with proposals to ensure that the new code accommodates the alternative transportation business model. An ongoing debate has ensued between Uber’s representatives and council members, as the company is urging a reaction from consumers through social media.
It is not surprising that DUI rates are higher in cities where there are fewer public transportation options. In cities where cabs are not regularly available, UberX has cropped up, allowing residents to open the app, calculate a fare and see how many drivers are available in the area. For many drivers, the choice between an alternative transportation option, such as Uber, or getting behind the wheel, can make the difference between life or death.
Currently, Birmingham residents do not have the option of hiring a driver through Uber, though nationwide, the company is providing an alternative where traditional cab fares or access to cabs are untenable. For individuals who have had too much to drink, it is important to consider alternatives to driving, including public transport, busses, cabs, phoning a friend, or staying the night. Many DUIs will arise where a driver simply does not have another option to get home safely and chooses to take a risk instead.
While many DUIs arise after an accident or other event, a greater proportion of DUIs involve drivers who got pulled over and were just slightly over the legal limit. These drivers may have thought they were in the clear, or that they would not get caught. Getting arrested and charged with a DUI can mean lasting consequences and penalties, including fines, jail time, and a damaging criminal record. All of the criminal penalties are compounded by the personal and professional consequences that may accompany a DUI. Birmingham drivers and others sharing the road would benefit from more alternatives, potentially Uber, or other public transportation options.