It took one bad decision to destroy my family. Nearly six years ago, my son Christopher was killed by a drunk driver. To ensure no other family faced that same devastation, I started looking into ride-sharing. I liked what I found so much that I started driving with Uber and Lyft. Every time I pick up someone who’s had too much to drink, I think of my son and know that I’m saving lives. 

But just as I am doing all in my power to keep the drunks off the road, so too should our elected officials. Passing a law like HB 749 to implement a uniform set of regulations statewide and bring ride-sharing to all Louisiana communities should be a no-brainer. Ride-sharing provides people with a reliable alternative to driving under the influence — tap a button, get a safe ride in my car. 

Every Louisiana resident deserves access to a convenient ride home — not just those in the biggest cities. To make these services available everywhere in Louisiana, we need one set of rules for ride-sharing statewide. Currently, we are one of five states left that do not have this kind of commonsense regulation in place. 

As a driver who has completed over 11,000 rides, I can personally attest that the current conflicting local regulations create confusion and difficulty for both riders and drivers. Without a regulatory framework that’s uniform throughout, it will be impossible for Uber and Lyft to come to the more than 368 Louisiana cities and parishes. 

Changing of the Cabs

In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015, photo the Uber app displays on a smart phone cars available for a pick up in downtown Manhattan. New York Cityís storied yellow cabs are taking a back seat to Uber now that the ride-sharing app has more vehicles registered in the city than the total number of taxis. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) ORG XMIT: NYMA103

When ride-sharing is available, people use it. According to a recent poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group of Uber riders in the United States, 88 percent of people said ride-sharing made it easier for them to avoid driving home when they had too much to drink. The numbers don’t lie. That’s a significant percentage of potentially devastating rides home avoided. 

Bill to expand, regulate Uber and Lyft in Louisiana breezes through House committee

Furthermore, researchers at Temple University discovered that Uber’s arrival in a city led to a 3.6 percent to 5.6 percent decrease in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car crashes. These are the lives of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends.

We’ve been here before. Last year, the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a similar bill by a vote of 79 to 12, but it was not given a vote in the Senate. 

It’s time to make it easier for all Louisianians to make the smart choice at the end of a night out. It’s time for our legislators to get on board and pass HB 749 for one clear ride-sharing framework in Louisiana.

Victor Silvio

Uber and Lyft driver-partner

Baton Rouge