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.
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.
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.
Uber and Lyft driver-partner