Massachusetts Legal Blog
Budweiser & Lyft Team Up to Stop Drunk Driving
While Uber has claimed that its ride-hailing app reduces the amount of drunk drivers on the road, Lyft has made no such claims. But that doesn’t mean this particular ridesharing company isn’t trying to do something about it.
Recently, Lyft teamed up with Budweiser to help curb drunk driving incidents this holiday season. But it does once again bring up the question: do ride-hail apps really help decrease drunk drivers on the roads?
Lyft and Budweiser teamed up in 2016 to help people who have had too much to drink get home safely; and they’re unrolling the program again this year. It’s called “Give a Damn. Don’t Drive Drunk” and through it, the two companies will be offering up to 150,000 free round-trip rides through weekends and holidays until the end of the year. Currently, the program is only available in ten states, and Massachusetts is one of them.
To get a free ride home (or credit that can be applied to a ride), individuals just need to go to Budweiser’s Facebook or Instagram page every Thursday after 2 p.m. There they’ll find a unique ride code that gives adults over the age of 21 a $20 ride credit, which can be applied to two $10 one-way rides when using the Lyft app.
While there are restrictions, credits can be redeemed between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time on Thursday through Saturday nights. These just happen to be the dates and times when most drunk driving accidents are likely to happen.
Does Ridesharing Decrease Drunk Driving?
While this program is a good move towards reducing drunk driving incidents on the roads, do ride-hailing apps actually decrease drunk driving like Lyft’s main competitor, Uber, asserts? Truthfully, it depends on the city. One study researched drunk driving crash rates in four cities—Las Vegas, Portland, Reno, and San Antonio; all cities that had an Uber program. And the results were mixed.
While Portland and San Antonio saw fewer cases of drunk driving, Reno did not. For Las Vegas, it was difficult to determine due to the amount of tourists that visit the city and are likely to use a ridesharing app rather than drive themselves anyway.
Other studies have shown that ridesharing doesn’t have any effect on drunk driving at all, while another independent study has it that New York saw a decrease in drunk driving since Uber started operations there in 2011.
But there are too many factors to truly decide. The topography and laws of each city have a big effect on whether or not ridesharing companies help reduce drunk driving, which may be why it’s so difficult to understand whether or not they really work this way.
Luckily, Massachusetts probably doesn’t have to worry about it.
Drunk Driving in Massachusetts
According to a study done by BackgroundChecks.org, Massachusetts falls well below other states when it comes to drunk driving rates. In fact, of all 50 states, Massachusetts ranked 49th, with only 121 people for every 100,000 being arrested for a DUI. That study was based on data from 2014, and they indicated a 32.9% decrease from the year before. Good job, Massachusetts!
So where were most drunk driving accidents likely to happen in Massachusetts? Perhaps not surprisingly, outside of bars and pubs. Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill outside Gillette Stadium, which took inspiration from his song “I Love This Bar,” had been named by 46 convicted drunk drivers as the last place they drank before being arrested. That was more than any other establishment in the state.
Tying for second place were The Grog, a restaurant in Newburyport, and Partner’s Pub in Fitchburg. It’s clear that when you’re outside of restaurants, bars, and pubs offering alcoholic drinks, you’re more likely to be hit by a drunk driver.
How to Keep Safe This Holiday Season
While partaking in Budweiser and Lyft’s program is a good start, there are other things that people can do, too.
- Always have a designated driver.
- Take the keys from a friend who has had too much to drink and help him or her find a ride home.
- Stay in groups, so friends can monitor each other’s alcohol intake and create a safety net for everyone.
- Have rides ready for guests if hosting a party, offer plenty of food, and be prepared to allow guests to stay over when they’ve had too much to drink.
Now, general road safety for the winter weather:
- If you must drive, be sure to increase the 3–4 seconds of following time to 8–10 seconds, as the roads may be slippery.
- Try not to stop suddenly on icy roads.
- Be familiar with your brakes and how well they work.
- When conditions are very bad, just stay home.
It’s the holiday season; and while this is a time to celebrate with family and friends, it’s only a celebration if everyone gets home safely. Know how to keep yourself safe and if you or a friend has had too much drink. There are a lot of ways to get home safely this holiday season, in addition to the program offered by Budweiser and Lyft. Take advantage of them, and they’ll help ensure you’re here to ring in the New Year next year, too!
If the worst happens and you are hit by a drunk driver, the attorneys at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., can help. Give us a call at (781) 262-3338. There’s no charge. We wish you and your family the best this holiday season!
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