With App Driven Ride Services, There is no need to risk Drinking and Driving

shutterstock_104530886-e1446838792159 (3).jpg

Thanks to smart phones and a number of enterprising companies, catching a ride has become easier than ever.  At least three companies - Uber, Lyft and Sidecar - all provide services that are very similar to those of a taxi service but more efficient, fast, comfortable and inexpensive.  Now that these services have an expanded network of drivers, there is really no reason to second-guess your blood alcohol level or even think of getting behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Even if you think you are below the limit, you driving is still impaired after consuming any amount of alcohol, and these services remove the risk of ever having an embarrassing and costly incident due to driving under the influence.

The App Advantage

To use one of these services, you must first download an app on your smart phone. You may initially feel skeptical about using a safe-ride service without talking to a live person. However, after using it once, you will likely develop greater faith in the system. When you have used it for several ride, it will seem as easy as sending a text message. One of the best things about using the app is that it provides information about your ride, such as the car that will pick you up, the driver's name, how quickly the driver will arrive, and the driver's current location. In addition, the app continuously updates you on the driver's location and arrival time. The app will also calculate the approximate fare. You will be alerted to your driver's imminent arrival by either the app or a text message alert, resulting in very little delay time.

The Ride

You will recognize your ride either by an identifier on the car or identifying information (car make, model, and license plate number) provided by the app. Your ride will be a regular car rather than a taxi, and the driver will likely let at least one person sit in the front seat, making you feel as if you are getting a ride from someone you know. Each company has different requirements regarding the drivers' qualifications and vehicle criteria. Once you are in the car, the service works similar to that of a taxi. You may have to give the driver directions, or they may have the destination information you input into the app. There is no meter in the car; instead, the smart phone app calculates the cost of the ride based on both distance and time. Since you will have input your credit card information into the app, there is no need to pay the driver when you are dropped off. Tips may be accepted, or they may be included as part of the payment. This payment method results in great efficiency, as the driver is able to quickly drop you off and move on to the next call.

The Service Costs

While each company has its own pricing system, all are likely to result in substantial savings over the cost of a taxi, as the great efficiency of the system allows these services to operate at a lower cost. The needs for a dispatcher is eliminated, and the driver that is closest to your destination is able to respond to your request right away, thus eliminating a lot of down time for these drivers. In addition, having the user's credit card on file prevents any delay in exchanging payment. The cost savings is passed on to the consumer. The final payment notification will be delivered to you on the app or via email, and this amount will be charged to your credit card.

Driving vs. Ridesharing

The cost of drinking and driving is significant. If caught driving under the influence, drivers are likely to pay at least $5,000 in fines and legal costs. When considering the additional costs of missed time at work, court time, classes and perhaps even losing a license, the cost can easily exceed $10,000. This conservative estimate is equal to 400 rides at $25 per ride! If an accident is involved, these costs can skyrocket even further. The driver may even have to face criminal charges. Moreover, the driver's insurance rate will likely increase by at least 100%, even more so if an accident is involved. Using either a ride-sharing service or a traditional taxi eliminates the risk that comes with drinking and driving.

There has never been a good reason to drive after drinking, as doing so can ruin one's life both financially and personally. Luckily, it is now easier than ever to avoid this risky behavior. The cost of using a ride-sharing service is not only significantly less expensive than the cost of getting caught driving under the influence but also more efficient and less expensive than taking a taxi. With this easy and affordable alternative available, there is no reason to ever consider drinking and driving.