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Letter: Ride-hailing services curb drunken driving

Ride-hailing services curb drunken driving

I have sent letters to Assembly Transportation Committee members. As I understand it, they are the reason for the ride-hailing issue not getting out of committee to a full vote. I’m very disappointed that I have yet to receive a response from anyone, save for auto replies.

Ride-hailing is something I feel very passionate about. Part of the reason for this is poor experiences with our local cab companies, to the point that I refuse to use them. Such refrains as “we don’t pick up there,” “your fare isn’t far enough” and “cash only” are common.

I write this out of frustration. New York State has taken very valid efforts toward a serious criminalization of even a first-time DWI, yet I perceive elected officials to be absent or even obstructionist in bringing ride-hailing to upstate.

Speaking as someone with no criminal record, I believe elected officials have used their legislative intellect and power to put some serious teeth into DWI laws – making a DWI so damaging that even an individual with a single offense can have his lifetime earning potential diminished (if not destroyed). Why, then, haven’t they been the leader in bringing ride-hailing to the rest of the state beyond New York City?

These services absolutely reduce drunken driving offenses and deaths. Seemingly, public safety should be their primary goal. Yet it seems these elected officials have made the choice to stand behind a veil of “ensuring public safety” to prevent these services, thus reducing public safety.

I recently returned from a trip to Mexico City, population 20 million. Uber (just one such ride-hailing service) proved, especially as a tourist, to be by far the easiest, fastest and safest way to see the massive metropolis.

Our elected officials must wield legislative power for both the criminal end and the prevention end. Drunken driving is a serious matter. Opposing ride-hailing makes them part of the problem.

Mark L. Jacobs

Amherst

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