Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft have been available in Ohio for the better part of a decade. You may be one of many people who use them on a regular basis. Proponents frequently tout them as a way to remove drunk drivers from the road, but have you ever wondered what effect ride-hailing companies really have on OVI arrests in Ohio?
WCPO posed the question to a defense attorney and a state law enforcement officer. Both agreed that the ride-hailing companies are helping to get impaired drivers off the road. However, the number of OVI arrests have not decreased in Ohio since the services have been available.
One theory is that the numbers may have remained steady due to people driving while impaired by opioids or other drugs in addition to alcohol. State authorities are now tracking each separately to see if that accounts for the numbers of OVI arrests remaining steady. Alcohol-related OVI arrests outnumbered those related to other drugs by nearly four times last year.
The effect of ride-hailing services on Ohio OVI arrests might be more significant if everyone used them while under the influence. It is not clear how many people are using smartphone apps to hail rides when they have been drinking or using drugs, but it is not 100%.
The attorney questioned made an interesting observation that ride-hailing apps tend to remove the drunkest drivers, i.e., those most likely to attract the attention of law enforcement, from the road. As a result, authorities now have to keep a closer look out for impaired drivers while on patrol.