Early Friday morning between midnight and 3 AM, East Precinct officers made three DUI stops including one just before last call in the heart of the entertainment district at Harvard and Pike.
The stops come in a busier than usual month for impaired driver calls for police across Capitol Hill and the Central District even as impaired drivers have more and more options to be passengers.
This New Year’s Eve, the City of Seattle has again teamed up with Uber for a promotion giving users discounted rides — open the Uber app, tap Promotions, enter promo code SAFESTART2017, and “request an uberPOOL ride on New Year’s Eve and the $10 discount will automatically apply,” Uber writes. But the ride service and its brethren don’t seem to have made a dent in East Precinct DUI enforcement this holiday season.
According to Seattle Police’s publicly available reporting, East patrols have responded to 39 DUI incidents so far this December. Over the past six years, officers have usually made around 20 stops in the same period. Of those 39 stops, about half ended in an arrest including a tech venture capital partner busted just before A AM on December 28th near 27th and Madison and the unfortunate health worker nailed not once but twice this month — once on the 7th and again on the 13th.
Uber’s and others like Lyft’s impact on drunk driving statistics have been used by the companies to push for expansion of the services. Nationally, the drunk driving rate has fallen to a new low, the Washington Post reported Friday. The numbers show that Americans are reporting that, yes indeed, they are driving impaired less often. That may be the case. But the SPD data from Capitol Hill and the East Precinct shows there is still plenty of dangerous drunk driving going on despite the apps and promo codes.