Alabama University Cornerback Geno Smith became the latest in a long string of college and professional football players to be arrested for DUI in Alabama and throughout the country in recent years.
Such indiscretions among those in the National Football League have cost players millions of dollars in fines. Last season, a DUI crash in Texas caused the death of one NFL player and the arrest of another for intoxication manslaughter.
All of this has reportedly prompted the NFL to team up with technology firm Uber to develop a smartphone application that will be specifically geared toward players and their families and will help arrange alternative transportation within a matter of minutes.
The New York Times reports that the arrangement was made by the NFL players association, and that it will be available in about half of all NFL cities. Already, an existing program, which is operated by the players’ union, allows players to call for a car to pick them up from almost anywhere just by making a call.
The benefit to the new Uber system is that because it relies on global positioning satellites, players won’t need to know exactly where they are in order to get a ride. Simply calling from a cell phone will alert dispatchers to the caller’s location.
Certain teams, such as the San Francisco Giants and the Minnesota Timberwolves, have already individually contracted with the service. However, the service has been largely unavailable in certain markets like Miami and Houston because of local and state laws governing taxi companies.
NFL players are going to be given a $200 credit each toward the service, which the agency hopes will prompt higher usage and help drive NFL DUI rates down. Some players, however, have expressed a level of skepticism about the program, believing that the league could potentially use information gleaned from the program against them.
The Times reported that since 2006, 70 percent of NFL players arrested for DUI were stopped in the home city where they are based, with most offenders having been in the league just a year or two. Nearly $3 million in player fines have been shelled out in that time frame.
While the service won’t be directly available to college players like Smith, it does set an example for aspiring NFL stars.
Smith was reportedly arrested in Tuscaloosa, though specific details haven’t been released. We do know he’s been suspended by the team for the season opener.
Even those without a lucrative sports career on the line may have a lot to lose if convicted of a DUI. Even a conviction for a first-time DUI offender could mean:
-A maximum of one year in jail;
-A fine of up to $2,000;
-A $100 fine toward the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund;
-A mandated, costly DUI school attendance;
-A suspended driver’s license;
-The implementation of ignition interlock if you register a 0.15 percent blood-alcohol content or higher.
We are committed to doing our best to have the charges and/or penalties reduced or hopefully dismissed entirely.
App for N.F.L. Players to Promote Safe Rides, Sept. 4, 2013, By Ken Belson, The New York Times
More Blog Entries:
Birmingham DUI Arrests Spike During Football Season, Aug. 11, 2013, Jefferson County DUI Defense Lawyer Blog