Drunk Driver

4 Smart Alternatives to Drinking and Driving

4 Smart Alternatives to Drinking and Driving

This post is brought to you by Tait & Hall.

As you know, drinking alcohol and driving is never a good combination; a DUI is not something you want on your record. If you haven’t already used the popular service, Uber has recently experienced a boom in the United States over the last few years. From late-night rides home to mid-day pick-ups from a concert or party, Uber is always a sound choice. With sober rides now available at your fingertips, let’s take a look at a few logical alternatives to drunk/buzzed driving that are available throughout the country.


As mentioned above, Uber is now available for anyone who owns a smartphone. Uber is a lot like a traditional taxi service in the sense that a driver is paid to take a person from point A to point B. However, instead of being called or waved down on the street, Uber cars are requested by the press of a button on a smartphone app.

Uber drivers work on their own schedule and the easy-to-use app provides a map view of available drivers and their real-time locations. To calm your nerves, potential Uber drivers must pass a background check. Furthermore, they also must not have been convicted for reckless driving in the past three years or driving under the influence in the past seven years. DUI lawyers serving Scottsdale always recommend using Uber when drinking is involved.

Traditional Taxi Services

Believe it or not, there are still a handful of different cab companies scattered around each town that can ensure you get home safely. Be sure to do some research to find out which ones work best for you.

Find a Designated Driver

If you are not in a position to hire a cab or driver to take you home, make sure you set up a ride home from a friend or family member before you go out. A designated driver can ensure you get home safely and without risking a DUI.


Good old fashioned walking home is always a safe option. If you have a short distance to walk, and you aren’t walking alone, consider walking home at the end of the evening. It is a much safer alternative to hopping in your car and potentially injuring yourself and others.

Stay Safe. Choose a Safer Option

If you choose to operate a vehicle while under the influence, you risk getting a DUI. This means that you’ll have your driver’s license suspended or even revoked, your insurance rates will go up, and among other things, it may have a negative effect on your current job, career, or place of future employment. Quite simply, drinking and driving is not worth the risk. Instead, call a cab, a sober driver, or use consider using Uber to avoid these long-term consequences.

If you have questions related to a DUI or any other alcohol-related convictions, DUI lawyers serving Scottsdale can help you. Feel free to reach out to us at any time. Most importantly, drive safe and if you drink, take a cab or use Uber.

driver safety on Uber or Lyft

How To Stay Safe While Driving for Lyft or Uber

There are all kinds of tips out there about how to ensure that Uber and Lyft passengers stay safe. Discussions surrounding rideshare safety seem to almost exclusively focus on ensuring that the people calling for rides stay safe. This is definitely important. As awful as it is, assaults on passengers do happen, and it’s important to make sure that riders get to their destinations safely. However, it almost seems as though people forget about the equally important half of the equation — keeping drivers safe as well.

Driving Uber or Lyft is generally perfectly safe. However, lots of drivers have at least one story involving harassment by an Uber or Lyft passenger. While many strides have been made in the taxi industry over the last few decades to ensure that drivers are kept as safe as possible, Uber and Lyft drivers don’t have some of the security measures that cabs do. Partitions in cabs, for example, are required in many cities, but are not necessary to Drive With Lyft or Uber.

Here are some of the easiest ways to ensure that you stay safe while driving for Lyft or uber.

Don’t Drive Unsafely Or In Places You Feel Unsafe

Obviously, you want to get as many rides done in the most efficient manner possible. However, it’s always more important to keep yourself safe, and you shouldn’t push yourself into potentially unsafe situations just to chase a little bit of a bonus. For example, it doesn’t really pay to rush and drive like a maniac when you’re in downtown during rush hour. Doing that usually just wastes gas and makes for an uncomfortable ride for the passenger. Also, you increase the risk of getting in an accident.

You can’t really control where the next ride is going to take you. However, keep aware of your surroundings. If a ride takes you into an area where your feel uneasy, simply use the last ride setting on either the Lyft or Uber app, and then drive out of the area when the ride is done. As you probably know, one of the keys to driving Uber or Lyft is to not drive around unnecessarily. So, if you want to pull over to wait for a ride request to come in, try to do so in a well lit area.

If you’re driving in a city where you’ve lived for a good period of time, you likely know where the city tends to be more and less safe. If not, do a bit of research before hitting the road.

Think of the Time

Even the nicest cities can often get a little bit dangerous after midnight. These issues often get compounded with the date; New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year, and Friday and Saturday nights are more likely to be dangerous than 11pm on a Wednesday. Staying safe often means thinking of the date, the time of day, and anything important that has happened recently in your area. If a big football game with lots of heightened emotions is going to happen later, it’s likely a good idea to just sign off for the night before then, especially if your town’s team loses.

On an everyday level, there are generally some overarching tips that can be helpful for organizing your drive times. Both the morning and afternoon rush hours are often great times to pick up passengers that are much less likely to be a danger. The hours right around a traditional nine-to-five work day are a great time to pick up people who are on their way to work at the same time as everyone else, so there will be plenty of others around you. The timing between the two also tends to be pretty safe; it’s less likely for a dangerous incident to occur in broad daylight. If you’re really concerned about your safety, it’s likely a good idea to start no earlier than about 6am and end no later than about 7pm.

Obviously, at the end of the day, you know your city, and you can always do research on the city by yourself. If the drunks start coming out around 10pm in your area, just avoid driving after then. If you know that there are certain regional holidays where people love to go out and get drunk, avoid the streets during those days. Making an extra couple of dollars is not worth the worry you’ll feel during unsafe conditions, and it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to your personal safety.

Consider Forming A Driver Safety Network

Small groups of drivers around the country have beginning forming security networks, usually using a group chat service. Basically, you have a number of drivers join a group in Google Hangouts, WeChat or another messaging service. Then, when you go out driving, you simply keep the chat window in the background. The idea is that if you have around ten or more drivers in a group, there will usually be someone else driving while you are. That way, you have someone you can send a message, or broadcast your location to, if necessary.

Rely on the App

Whether you’re using Uber or Lyft, there are a few features of the app that are there specifically to ensure that you get your passengers to and from their destinations safely. These companies want to keep you safe, but it’s not altruism. It’s more that neither Uber or Lyft want another lawsuit on their hands!

The first bit of help the app can give you comes in the form of passenger ratings. When you get a notification with a prospective passenger, the app will also give you that passenger’s rating — a cumulative measure of the ratings they’ve been given across other drivers they’ve been transported by. Like your driver rating, that passenger rating will go down if they’re rude, mean, obnoxious, or otherwise unsafe. If a passenger’s rating drops particularly low, the company will likely take action, but it’s a good idea to take the rating into account when you’re deciding whether or not to accept the ride. You want to accept as many rides as possible, but if you’re debating whether to accept a passenger with a 4.3 rating —  it’s just a good idea to say no. You don’t want to put yourself into a situation that could have easily been avoided. If someone’s pulling a 4.3, the ride is likely to be unpleasant.

Another thing the app allows you to do is cancel rides. Though you of course want to avoid canceling rides if at all possible, you always have the right to cancel if you pull up to the pick-up spot and you feel unsafe. Whether that’s because the person is not who they described themselves to be, they have a weapon or menacing item, or they’re engaging in behavior that makes you uncomfortable, you’re never forced to let someone into your car. Upon canceling a ride, make sure you explain why the ride was canceled. If the rider was misrepresenting themselves by doing something such as claiming to be a completely different person, it may be cause for Uber or Lyft to take action against that passenger and ensure they do not harm anyone else. However, keep in mind, Uber & Lyft will not suspend you for a low acceptance rate, but they will for a high cancel rate.

Make Sure People Know Where You Are

When you’re going to be in a situation that has every chance to turn dangerous, it’s wise to make sure you’ve informed others. If you disappear while doing your daily Uber driving, you want to make sure that someone will notice and try to get ahold of you. For some people, this just entails texting someone when you get home, while for more safety-forward people, it may mean live-sharing your location with someone you trust throughout all of your work hours. There are also apps that can do a similar thing.

Getting people involved may also mean getting Lyft or Uber involved if something does go wrong. Going along with the above point, you should always contact the company’s support if there is a serious issue. Whether you’re verbally or physically threatened, someone makes a threat against themselves or others, or something equally dangerous happens, the rideshare company needs to know. Contact the company, contact any relevant authorities, and make sure that the people you love know about it too. There’s nothing wrong with covering all your bases; when it comes to your personal safety, you can’t be too careful.

Staying Safe is Important, Not Impossible

Every time an accident happens with a business or profession that’s in the news recently, it gets a substantial amount of media attention. This can lead to people thinking it’s much more dangerous than it actually is, and subsequently getting more worried about their own safety. There are definitely safety concerns that go along with being an Uber or Lyft driver, but it’s something that you can guard against on your own, if you know what you’re doing. By paying attention to when and where you’re driving, using your app’s safety features as they’re intended to be used, and keeping in contact with the people that know you, you’ll be able to make the most of your rideshare experience, while also keeping yourself safe.


Uber Lyft Driver Vetting

The Rideshare Vetting Process: How Uber and Lyft Screen Drivers

As Uber and Lyft continues to grow and become more accepted as an alternative to cabs or carpooling, an important question arises: how can Uber and Lyft screen their drivers to ensure safety in a cost-effective way? When it comes to cab drivers, the screening process is often tremendously strict, but that kind of regiment is just not an efficient way to screen freelance workers.

When it comes to rideshare vetting, there are all sorts of questions and concerns that people have, and for good reason. A recent CNN investigation found that over 100 Uber drivers were accused of sexual assault in the last four years. Here’s a look at rideshare safety and how it interacts with the vetting process, as well as a comparison with taxi safety processes.

Background Checks

This is one of the main points of contention in regards to safety on the Uber and Lyft platforms. Taxi services all over the country require fingerprinting for all prospective taxis drivers; this fingerprinting allows for a level-two background check through the FBI, screening an applicant’s statewide and nationwide criminal history. Under this process, if a felony is discovered through the background check, the individual is not allowed to become a taxi driver. There are also certain restrictions on non-felony criminal offenses that may or may not be applicable, usually regarding motor vehicle-based offenses. On the other hand, Uber and Lyft both use online background checks, usually through Checkr, to manage this procedure. Until last year, Uber and Lyft would only look seven years into the past with this service, and use those past seven years to deny or accept prospective drivers. More recently, in response to a plethora of incidents, both companies have been rerunning background checks on drivers. These background checks have been more intensive and can go back decades.

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Proponents of the fingerprinting requirement state that it is the most useful way to accurately tell if someone has committed a felony. Only about 55 percent of court records can be accessed through online databases, and they are only visible for seven years; on the other hand, fingerprinting background checks can go all the way back to age 18, no matter how old the individual is, and covers name changes. However, those who argue that fingerprinting is not inherently safer will often reference how incomplete even federal criminal records are; in 2015, a study by the Justice Department found that more than three million unprocessed or partially processed case disposition forms existed across just 19 states. In comparison to online background checks, which generally take less than a week, a mail-based fingerprint background check can also take several weeks to complete.

Uber Lyft Fingerprinting Drivers

Fingerprinting isn’t necessarily a perfect option. After all, even if the records for FBI background checks were perfect, they wouldn’t be able to notice people who have never been caught or convicted. However, the truth is that a seven-year window is substantially smaller than the full-life offer an FBI fingerprinting background check provides. Because of this, some people do argue that it makes taxis a safer option than Uber or Lyft. However, the driver isn’t the only part of the vetting process that must be evaluated.

Uber & Lyft Car Requirements

The actual car, of course, must be considered. Taxis are required to meet an exact set of requirements that are usually established by the state, whereas Lyft and Uber each create their own set of requirements for the cars they will accept. Taxi companies also lease their company-owned cars to the drivers, whereas Uber and Lyft instead allow individuals to use their personal cars, which leads to another potential issue.

Taxi companies are able to keep a fleet of similar cars that all meet safety standards as well as other important criterions, such as those imposed by the ADA. Taxi medallions are expensive, so these companies have drivers pay a fee to use their medallion-certified cars, then allow the taxi drivers to keep the fares and tips that they receive. This allows them to ensure that all taxis are safe, functioning properly, and are reasonably well maintained.

Compare that to Lyft or Uber. Currently, there are no specific vehicle requirements that rideshare cars have to meet, so the companies set their own. Lyft establishes vehicle requirements based on the state, and Uber has a list of state-specific requirements as well as a set of overall requirements. Lyft and Uber also both have several different types of cars, ranging to encompass a wide variety of events, such as an everyday ride, a more upscale experience, and a large car able to seat more passengers. Lyft even allows you to rent a car to drive with, which is a setup that is extremely similar to taxicabs, but without such stringent requirements. Overall, this is designed to give users the highest degree of customization – but also includes dangers.

In some cities, they may also require an in-person vehicle examination, in accordance with local laws. This would seem to be a no-brainer, but the issue is, it doesn’t always work that well. In some cities, drivers have reported being required to bribe dispatchers in order to receive a car, and the taxi licensing fees are still high, although nowhere near as high as they used to be. Taxi companies can often afford to pay these fees, even as the rideshare industry changes the landscape in terms of who is hailing cabs, but for individuals, the investment into a taxi medallion is life-changing, and not always in a good way. People who paid these medallion fees ten or twenty years ago are finding themselves unable to pay off the loans they took, essentially putting themselves out of a job.


Driver and passenger ratings are extremely important for ridesharing apps, and they are used as a form of safety policing in Uber and Lyft. Because ridesharing exists in an app that has a one-to-five-star system built into it, drivers and passengers are able to rate each other as soon as they complete the ride, and in many cases, they can leave a comment if they feel it’s necessary. This helps the companies to not only keep an easy eye on drivers who consistently receive low ratings, but also to ensure that passengers are not a danger to the driver either. Unfortunately, the system is not unflawed.

To create an overall driver rating, Lyft uses the last 100 ratings, while Uber uses up to the last 500. Both use average driver ratings in your area as a baseline, and consider drivers to be doing poorly when their rating drops below what’s typical for others around them. Neither company will pair a driver and passenger together again if they rate each other three stars or lower. In addition, if one party does give the other a low rating, they are able to comment on why they did so, sometimes reporting a serious problem that the company needs to address — whether they felt unsafe, the other party did something suspicious, or they feel as though the quality or safety standards are not being met. This allows the company to do something about the problem instantly. This is done for every single ride, giving the rideshare apps the ability to determine if their drivers are being kind, courteous, and safe on every pick-up.

Taxis, on the other hand, do not generally have this system. There are some taxi companies that operate within apps, but they do so in an entirely different manner from rideshare apps, and there may not be the same rating or follow-up system that Lyft and Uber uses. If taxi passengers want to complain about a driver, or vice versa, there are extra steps that they have to take in order to do so. Some people don’t have the time to go online or call through an automated system, and many times, the problem is forgotten by the point where an individual does have the time. In addition, complaining about a taxi driver requires that you note the driver’s medallion number or license plate; Uber and Lyft, on the other hand, automatically link your ride rating to your driver, and maintain a history in the app.

Where Uber & Lyft Go From Here

Many people have criticized Uber and Lyft for their negligent safety screening procedures, and not without basis. There have been assaults in both Uber and Lyft cars, and these assaults have made headlines, where people have argued whether Uber and Lyft are more dangerous than taxis – or if the assaults that happened are just overhyped. Less talked about are the numerous stories of assaults and harassment by passengers against Uber or Lyft drivers. In both case, these “lesser” safety procedures are part of what allow ridesharing services to charge low prices, but they can also leave riders and drivers more vulnerable than their taxi counterparts.

Uber Lyft Background Checks

So, where is the middle ground between extremely strict safety and accessible pricing? This is a constant battle, and one that will likely not be decided on anytime soon. Certainly, there are things that both Uber and Lyft can do to make their riders and drivers safer, but their riders will have to decide if they’re willing to pay the price. Is the risk worth the benefit? Is the cost worth the potential increase in safety? These are questions that Uber and Lyft will have to figure out this year.

What do you think Uber and Lyft can do to make their platforms safe for riders and drivers? Let us know below.

Uber driver after collecting his signup bonus.

Uber is fighting to make roads less safe.

Uber is fighting a Massachusetts proposal that would limit drivers to 16 hours per 24 hours. This is despite the fact that multiple studies have shown that fatigue causes accidents. What’s next? Will Uber start handing out free meth to drivers to keep them going?

Source: HuffPo