VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There’s a new twist in the saga of Uber, the ride-sharing company still trying to break into Vancouver.
The company is now facing a backlash after it suggested the service may have been responsible for lowering drinking and driving arrest rates in California over the 2.5 years it has been operating there.
But many police in the Golden State credit more enforcement and awareness campaigns with much of that drop. Sacramento Police Department Sergeant Chris Prince says it definitely isn’t all because of Uber.
“I like to think that it’s been a combination of things that have helped collisions and DUI arrests in our city, and our county for that matter, and across the state. But I don’t think Uber can stand up and take credit for that — like it’s because of them that suddenly things have changed. And this is not unique in probably any city in California; there are a lot of factors that have gone into that reduction.”
And police in Uber’s head office city of San Francisco say there hasn’t been any drop.
“Our felonies — which are when there is an injury — in 2013 there were 52 DUI felony arrests and in 2014 we had 58. A little bit higher but around the same number in general,” says Officer Albie Esparza with the San Francisco Police Department.
A number of organizations have thrown cold water on Uber’s report since it came out, including MADD, which says there is no causal relationship.
Prince and his fellow law-enforcement officers are quick to praise the positives of a service like Uber, which does keep some drunk drivers off the road, but he says the company trying to take credit for lowering arrest rates isn’t fair.
“I would hope that UBER is not jumping on this like it’s entirely them because that would not be true. And if you talk to countless agencies around the state, they would say the same thing, especially in the bigger cities,” says the veteran Sacramento officer.
The company operates in 10 cities across California.
In an email to all of its subscribers, Uber says arrests have dropped by 60 per month across the state since it started operations.