In a video posted to YouTube this week, an Uber driver saves a Lyft driver from being ticketed by undercover cops, and the cops threaten him with more charges, then call in back up.
In the video, the man can be seen approaching the undercover cops from across the street.
“These two people are the two individuals that entrapped me right here, and they’re trying to do it right now. They’re trying to get every other Uber driver and Lyft driver right now. Look at them, waving people down. The woman said … her phone was out of battery, and the guy said he had a flip phone and said he had cash. They’re trying to catch all kinds of people,” the Uber driver explained.
When the person filming approaches the undercover officers they are in the middle of trying to entrap a Lyft driver, so he interrupts and calls out, “Hey, brother, those people are undercover cops! I just got a citation for this!”
The Lyft driver replied “Oh really?” and slowly pulled away.
“Yeah, they trapped me,” the Uber driver responds as the car pulls off.
The Uber driver turns to the police and says, “Yep. Good job, guys!”
The police become immediately hostile with the Uber driver, and another marked police car begins to pull down the street.
“I’ll see y’all in court,” the Uber driver said as he backed away from the police who were now trying to surround him.
The female officer takes out her phone and begins filming the driver.
“Oh, I thought your phone was dead! Ah, your phone ain’t dead no more, huh?” the Uber driver responds.
“We gave you cash,” she said.
“I didn’t take nothing from you. I took nothing from neither one of you people, and you know I didn’t,” the Uber driver said, disputing his citation.
The officer then begins to threaten him with more charges.
“Okay, I’m going to show this to the judge. You’re harassing me. You’re interfering with an investigation,” the officer threatened.
“I’m not harassing nothing. Y’all entrapped me.” the driver responded.
“I just got trapped, and I just wanted to stop someone else from getting trapped, that’s all,” he added.
For generations, cab companies have enjoyed the benefit of government protectionism, maintaining monopoly privileges over an entire industry due to strict licensing and regulation agreements. Uber and other rideshare services like Lyft came on the scene a few years ago and allowed customers and unlicensed cab drivers to cut out the middle man and find one another quickly and easily.
Not only are these services cheaper than traditional cabs, due to the lack of government involvement and red tape, but they are also far more convenient and allow people to get a ride home much faster than they would if they called a traditional cab. This fact has led many to believe over the years that these services save lives, by making it easier for drunk people to get a ride home when they can’t drive home themselves.
Until recently there has been no hard evidence to prove this, but a recent study conducted at Temple University was able to bring enough data together, so we could at least estimate the impact that Uber and similar services have had on drunk driving accidents.
The researchers looked at drunk driving data between 2009 and 2014 in California, as 2009 was the year that Uber first entered the marketplace. What they discovered was a decrease in drunk driving related deaths that was somewhere between 3.6 percent and a 5.6 percent.
Economically, results indicate that the entrance of Uber X results in a 3.6% – 5.6% decrease in the rate of motor vehicle homicides per quarter in the state of California. With more than 13k deaths 22 occurring nationally each year due to alcohol-related car crashes at a cost of 37 billion dollars25, results indicate that a complete implementation of Uber X would create a public welfare net of over 1.3 billion to American taxpayers and save roughly 500 lives annually. Moreover, with costs to the individual (e.g. court costs, insurance rate increases, loss of income) totaling between 5k and 12k dollars for the first DUI offence26, significant welfare accrues to the individual as well by leveraging these services.