Uber, Drunk Driving, and Safety on Calgary Streets: Part 2

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In Part 1 of this article, you read that some people have raised legal objections to Alberta's impaired driving or "DUI" law, suggesting that the law—and specifically the automatic penalties it puts in place for people who have been arrested and/or charged with a DUI but who haven't yet had a trial—infringes on civil liberties such as the presumption of innocence. Public safety should not come at the expense of Charter-protected rights, the argument goes; it is an extension of the age-old conflict between a government that tries to keep everyone safe and a society that tries to keep everyone free.

Uber, a "ride-sharing" app that allows practically any driver to earn money by offering a taxi-like service to people in need of a ride, might not seem to have anything to do with Calgary DUIs at first glance, but Calgarian and Dragon's Den star Michele Romanow feels that there's a similar conflict in the laws currently preventing people in Calgary from driving for Uber legally. The mayor and others have said that drivers without the right insurance to use their cars as taxis are putting themselves and their passengers at increased risk, and others have cited safety concerns with the lack of official background checks and certifications compared to licensed taxi drivers; Romanow points out that these laws are unnecessarily restrictive and maybe even counterproductive.

How Uber Could Increase Public Safety and Reduce Calgary DUIs

Romanow points out that the freedom of the free market system that Uber introduces into the taxi world is good for drivers and for riders, and implicitly asserts that everyone should be free to make their own choices when it comes to their transportation. But her argument doesn't stop with the business side of things.

Romanow goes on to suggest that Uber is actually better for public safety: it creates an automatic and immediate record of exactly what driver picked up what passenger at what time and place—something that doesn't happen with Calgary's existing taxi services. This means there's more accountability and no anonymity, which is good for both drivers’ and passengers' safety.

She then ties Uber availability directly to reductions in drunk driving incidents, citing a MADD report that found drunk driving dropped dramatically in California cities after Uber was rolled out. Instead of increasing public safety, barring Uber from legally operating here in Calgary could be creating greater risks for the public by preventing people from making more responsible decisions.

The DUI laws might still be a controversial issue, but Uber seems a clear win-win for public safety and Calgary's entrepreneurial spirit—and can help reduce impaired driving incidents, too.

A DUI Defence Lawyer Serving All of Calgary and Beyond

Whether you're driving for Uber or just for yourself, if you've been charged with a DUI in Calgary then one thing is certain: you're facing a serious legal battle. Get the serious help you need by contacting an experienced Calgary DUI defence lawyer today —that's one right you have that the law still protects.

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