New Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits Are Introduced for Rideshare Drivers
Blood alcohol concentration, more commonly referred to as BAC, is the measure of how much alcohol is in the blood. It is the main way that officers determine if a suspect is guilty of driving under the influence. In California, the legal limit is .08 for drivers 21 years old and older. Until recently, that was the same legal BAC requirement for rideshare drivers working for Lyft, Uber, and others. However, a recent law changes rideshare driver’s legal limits to .04. For some people, that could mean a single drink of alcohol.
Being convicted of a DUI can change the rest of your life. Not only will it result in a license suspension, fines, and potentially jail time, it can result in long-term consequences when you have a conviction on your record. If you have been arrested for a DUI then you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can request a free legal consultation by calling The Mattern Law Firm at 310-342-8254.
The new law is in response to complaints
A report by the Public Utilities Commission found that between 2014 to 2015, around 2,000 people complained to Uber that they believed their drivers were intoxicated. Nearly 575 of those riders later deactivated their accounts. The PUC looked into 154 of those cases and found that Uber could only show that 22 of those drivers had their ability to drive suspended within an hour. The other drivers were allowed to finish their shifts, despite the fact that they may have been intoxicated.
The new BAC limits apply to more than just rideshare drivers
These lower BAC limits will apply to any driver who takes passengers for hire. This includes drivers of taxis, limos, Uber, Lyft, and party buses. If a person is found guilty of a DUI under these stricter guidelines, they will have the same penalties as anyone else arrested for a DUI. That includes fines of up to $2,000, 96 hours in jail, and a license suspension of up to six months.
This lower limit is also a response to one of the supposed benefits of ridesharing
Many support rideshare programs specifically because they have the potential to reduce drunk drivers on the roads. If the drivers themselves are intoxicated, then this would defeat the purpose. There have been studies done to look at the number of drunk drivers before and after ridesharing and mixed results have been found.
Have you been arrested for a DUI charge? There is help
At The Mattern Law Firm we often run into clients who say that they plead guilty to their DUI charge because it seemed to be the only option. After all, they failed a breathalyzer – there is nothing else that can be done. This is not true. There are always options, depending on the evidence against you. We may be able to argue for lesser charges, for diversion, or for other alternative options. Call us at 310-342-8254 to learn more about your particular options.