Ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have struck controversy throughout the United States due to their lack of regulation and legal protections for passengers. Florida lawmakers, however, have joined the ranks of several other states in looking to regulate this new “transportation networking” industry. Ride sharing companies are favored by consumers due to their low prices, ease of use, and convenience. Such companies are disfavored in the sense that they can afford to charge lower rates than their taxi driver counterparts because these companies do not require drivers to carry commercial licenses or carry liability insurance for their passengers. Regardless of any ongoing legal debates surrounding the regulation and legality of ride sharing companies, these companies are creating safe, inexpensive avenues for people to get home safely after a night out. It is believed that using such companies will reduce drunk driving offenses in Florida, like they have already in many other cities and states.
Ride Sharing Companies
Ride sharing companies effectively operate like taxis. The model for ride sharing companies is unique in that the request for pickup is wholly controlled through one’s smart phone. GPS locators know where you want to be picked up based on your current location, and GPS locators in the cars show you how far away your driver is. You can get fare estimates, estimates on pick up and drop off times, and choose who your driver will be based on other passenger reviews.
Additionally, companies such as Uber have two other very appealing characteristics. First, these rides are typically a fraction of what a ride would cost in a taxi. Again, this is partly attributable to the fact that ride sharing drivers are not presently required to carry commercial licenses or have heightened insurance that creates additional expense for other drivers. Second, payment is automatic. A customer has a saved credit card on the application; a rider never needs to fumble with a credit card, tip, or be concerned about individual drivers having their credit card information.
Positive Impact on Drinking and Driving
The ease by which people can utilize ride sharing services and the low costs these companies can offer is encouraging people to utilize this form of transportation over drinking and driving. While people may be deterred by paying high amounts for a taxi or having to flag one down after a long night, ride sharing companies eliminate all of these stressors. A person simply requests a ride, can either watch on the GPS for the vehicle’s arrival or wait until they get a notification, enjoy the ride, and get out at their destination—nothing to swipe, input, or think about.
Industry leader Uber estimates that over one million South Floridians are utilizing their services, and the company has been given the state’s blessing to operate under its current procedures through September of this year. With this will come the opportunity for more people to sign up, use the services, and save the lives of themselves and others on the road.
Orlando Drunk Driving Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Moses & Rooth, we understand that people do not always make their soundest life decisions when they are under the influence of alcohol. While taking a taxi or ride sharing service is a simple way to protect yourself against drunk driving charges, everyone makes mistakes. Our experienced drunk driving defense attorneys know how to navigate the criminal justice system to ensure that you are treated fairly. We will confidentially, non-judgmentally, and zealously advocate on your behalf for the best outcome given your unique situation. To learn more about your legal rights after being charged with a drunk driving or other criminal offense, contact our Orlando office today.