It’s been nearly a year since a drunk driver killed four pedestrians and injured 17 others on a busy Austin street last March. The events of that night – in San Antonio’s backyard and during one of the biggest music festivals in the world – shook not only the state of Texas, but reminded everyone across the nation that drunk driving is a violent, deadly crime.
Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths, amassing 1,337 fatalities in 2013 alone; and Bexar County ranked as the third deadliest county in the state. That same year, there were nearly 100,000 DUI arrests in the state; and taxpayers’ subsidies of drunk driving fatalities reached a shocking $6.2 billion.
Drunk driving is 100% preventable. With all of the options at people’s fingertips today, there is no longer an excuse to drink and drive. Yet, unless the San Antonio City Council takes urgent action, one of those options will disappear on March 1.
Rideshare services such as Uber provide a viable alternative to getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. MADD has worked with Uber since last July to help prevent drunk driving and advocate the need for safe ride options. A joint data report issued recently by MADD and Uber demonstrates that not only is Uber a convenient transportation option, but that it can also be a powerful tool in the fight to reduce the number of drunk driving crashes.
Nearly everyone surveyed would recommend their friends take Uber instead of driving if they’d been drinking alcohol. Over half of respondents agreed with the statement, “Without Uber, I’d probably end up driving more after drinking at a bar or restaurant.”
And council members should take note of the fact that 86% of respondents are concerned about drunk driving, and far more than other transportation issue, people want their elected leaders working toward solutions that reduce it. A solid majority of respondents (65%) said elected officials should prioritize reducing drunk driving as a way to keep streets safe for drivers and passengers.
It is crucial that San Antonio’s City Council help protect residents and allow for as many safe transportation choices as possible in this great city. Unless council members repeal the ordinance passed in December, rideshare services such as Uber will have no choice but to leave San Antonio on March 1.
Whether it’s a rideshare service, public transportation or a taxi, MADD wants all San Antonians to get home safely and designate a non-drinking driver when plans include alcohol. MADD is urging the city to repeal the ordinance so we can keep Uber in San Antonio and make the roadways safer for everyone. Uber provides a critical service to help prevent drunk driving. Together, we can work towards a world where a safe ride is always within reach, and where drunk driving is a thing of the past.
The City Council has the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on people’s lives in San Antonio. We hope our elected leaders make the right choice.
*Featured/top image: Photo via Uber’s Instagram account.