VERIFY: Did Uber & Lyft help reduce drunk driving arrests?

Uber & Lyft Impact On D.W.I.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Local leaders pushed to move up the start date for Uber and Lyft, arguing it would help reduce the number of drunk drivers hitting the roads over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

2 On Your Side reached out to the office of Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard to get D.W.I. arrest information for this year versus 2016.

"The numbers would suggest something a little different than what you might have expected," Sheriff Howard said.

In 2016, Howard's deputies made 6 arrests over the 3-day holiday weekend, an average of two arrests per day. Compare that to nine arrests over the 4-day weekend that just wrapped up, which is a slightly higher rate than the previous year.


Thursday, State Police Troop A, which includes all 8 Western New York counties, released information from the holiday weekend as well.

From July 1-4 of 2016, troopers made 19 drunk driving arrests, compared to 20 arrests from July 1-4 of 2017.

"Ridesharing in Western New York is only a few days old," Trooper James O'Callaghan said. "As the year progresses and ridesharing becomes more popular, it is anticipated that D.W.I. arrests will decline."

O'Callaghan also provided other data.

There were 47 total collisions during the 2016 4-day period compared to 45 in 2017. As far as distracted driving tickets issues, there were 37 during the period in question in 2016. That number dropped significantly for the same time in 2017, when troopers handed out only 23 distracted driving tickets.

Back to drunk driving arrests, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said there were six total D.W.I. checkpoints across the county, and his Stop D.W.I. coordinator will soon release information on all the arrests county-wide.

Howard said his office's numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

"The four-day weekend may have been more encouragement to do even more drinking," Howard said, adding that it's possible there may have been even more DWI arrests if it weren't for Uber and Lyft.

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