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Ride-sharing programs lead to fewer DWI

The initial results of ride-sharing programs in Western New York are positive when it comes to limiting drunk driving. While ride-sharing has only been offered for a short time in the Buffalo area, driving while intoxicated-stops have already decreased. This is especially powerful because DWI rates typically rise in the summer.

In 2016, there were 93 DWI incidents in June and 105 in July. In 2017, there were 86 DWI incidents and 80 in July. Ride-sharing programs like Lyft and Uber and ride-sharing may not be the sole reason for fewer DWI, but the authorities recommend that those out drinking take advantage of the programs.

In addition to fewer DWIs in general, there are also fewer felony DWIs. The district attorney reported that this is because there are fewer repeat offenders. The findings in Buffalo are similar to what other cities have noticed with ride-sharing programs. DWI's decrease when these alternative transportation options are available and increase when rides-sharing is removed.

While the authorities have blood and breath testing to tell them when someone is intoxicated, it is not so easy for people to identify their blood alcohol concentration levels. It is illegal for someone with a BAC of .08 percent to operate a vehicle, but some people get behind the wheel thinking they are under the legal limit. Regardless, people can still face jail time, fines and a license suspension when convicted of drunk driving.

If charged with a DWI, an attorney might attempt to verify the results of any tests. Breath tests are not always calibrated correctly, and an officer must administer the test properly. Field sobriety tests are not considered scientific evidence, and several factors could skew the results. This is because some people may be predisposed to do poorly and because the tests are subjective and based on an officer's judgment.

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