EUGENE, Ore. – The number of driving under the influence of intoxicants cases has gone down in recent years, according to crime data, and one factor may be rideshare services operating in the city.
Data from the Eugene Police Department shows there were nearly 600 DUIIs between Sept. 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018.
But when Uber relaunched and Lyft arrived in Eugene in September 2018, there were only 440 during the following 12-month span.
While Eugene police said they can't attribute the decrease to any single cause, Uber driver Tyler McCracken said he believes ridesharing services are giving people a good option to avoid driving after drinking.
"I personally think that it's helping, but at the same time I'm sure there are other factors that are contributing," McCracken said.
But the downward trend of DUIIs didn't start with rideshare services in Eugene. The data shows that there's been a steady decrease since 2015-2016 when there were more than 700 violations.
Lt. Doug Mozan of the Eugene Police Department said for this upcoming New Year's Eve, all officers got a refresher course on how to spot drunk drivers.
He said the best thing people can do is come up with a plan for how they're going to get home safely before they go.
"As more options come in like rideshare services there are fewer excuses for getting home safely," Mozan said.
The Technology Association of Oregon (TAO), Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST), with the support of City of Eugene Parking, is organizing a Safe Rides Home campaign. They are working together with Uber, Oregon Taxi, and the Lane Transit District towards a shared goal to help ensure that everyone gets home safe.
From 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until midnight, merrymakers can ride LTD for free. Then from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day, additional smart transportation will include a $5 discount on a ride from Uber using app code “SAFERIDE2020” and Oregon Taxi riders can receive a $10 discount by using app code “SAFERIDE”. This promotion is available to everyone in the Eugene-Springfield area.