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DUI Arrests Plummet in South Florida Thanks to Ridesharing


With Tampa clubs staying open late into the night, finding an alternative means to safely return home was challenging 15 years ago. Public transportation shut down early and taxicabs often had hour-long waits, making driving home a fascinating proposition after an evening of heavy drinking.

Unfortunately, it was a risky proposition that led to an uptick in DUI arrests.

Thanks to an increased presence of ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, DUI arrests have slowly declined in 2018. Miami-Dade, the largest police force in Southeastern U.S., watched their DUI arrests plummet 65% in 2017 alone. Those figures coincide with an increased interest in ridesharing, especially during late nights when law enforcement proactively looks for impaired drivers.

In 2016, Florida endured 5,223 DUI-related accidents, of which 417 were fatal. Over 600 drug-induced crashes were logged during the same year, almost half leading to death. An additional 262 crashes occurred in 2016 where both drugs and alcohol were confirmed in one or more persons involved. Sadly, 299 died in those incidents.

A More Educated Public

As millennials usher in an overhauled perspective on law enforcement, a general distaste for driving – let alone under the influence – is following close behind. In turn, a more informed society that errs on the side of caution after an evening of drinking has arrived.

Uber, for one, works closely with MADD and similar groups, along with law enforcement. Increasing the number of vehicles available to bring persons safely home in the least amount of time has been addressed since new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took the helm.

Data linking ridesharing with decreased vehicular fatalities and DUI arrests is limited, although MADD teamed up with Uber in 2015 to learn that incidents of drunk driving in persons under 30 decreased by 6.5% in markets with heavy ridesharing saturation.

With continued education and increased availability of ridesharing services, communities can breathe easier knowing the mindset of intoxicated persons is evolving. But make no mistake – law enforcement is as omnipresent today as years past, and will not hesitate to arrest persons for DUI.

Increased DUI Costs Contributing to Decline 

Florida is one of many states that make .08 the legal limit. But Florida, in attempt to curb continued DUI violations, also makes first offenses expensive.

First convictions come with an onslaught of fines and responsibilities just to maintain freedom and driving privileges: around $488 in court costs, $500 fine, costs associated with bail, fees in conjunction with attending victim impact panel, and DUI school. Retaining private counsel may change the amount of financial responsibility, depending on final adjudication. Subsequent convictions may increase fines and fees, not to mention impose potential incarceration.

With hefty costs associated with DUI violations, residents are finding ridesharing service a more convenient option to get home safely, one that trumps the alternative – jail.

We Can Help You Today

Have you been charged with DUI in Florida? Donald C. Barrett, P.A. is an established DUI attorney in Tampa with experience handling first and subsequent offenses. Call 813-280-1201 for a free consultation and see the difference skilled representation will have on your case.


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