Uber’s been in the news lately, and the publicity they’ve received hasn’t been all good. The ride sharing company has seen both positive and negative coverage, including a hotly debated research study suggesting Uber is responsible for a decrease in drunk driving rates among certain California demographics. They’ve also been petitioning to re-enter the Vancouver market with mixed results, and while cab companies work to block them out the public is signing petitions to bring them back.
While all the hoopla surrounds them, they seem to have resumed their focus on stopping impaired driving. Along with the ad agency Rethink, they’ve developed a sidewalk kiosk that tests your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after you blow through a straw for six seconds. The ‘Uber Safe’ breathalyzer is currently parked on a curb in Toronto, and if you blow over the legal limit of .08, Uber will give you a free ride to your destination.
Here’s a quick video detailing how it works.
What’s not obvious by the video is whether or not Uber Safe gives you a blood alcohol reading or just indicates that you’re over the limit and a car is on the way for you. The danger with any type of breathalyzer that’s not police grade is that it may give you results you’re comfortable with and you end up driving anyway, and if the Uber Safe gives specific BAC readings and you’re under .08, people may do just that.
But if you drive with a BAC under .08 in Ontario, you can still receive an impaired driving charge. Ontario has ‘warn range’ penalties that involve immediate driver’s license suspensions and fines if you blow between .05 to .08, and if you have enough warn range suspensions, you could even be required to install an ignition interlock device.
If you’re in Toronto and you’re out drinking, it’s not a bad idea to blow into Uber Safe’s curbside breathalyzer to get a free ride home, but don’t let the device make the decision for you on whether or not you’re OK to drink and drive. If you’ve had any amount of alcohol, you should always hand the keys over to someone else.
Image from Adweek.com