Darien police have noticed that there have been fewer arrests for intoxicated driving recently, and they think they know why.
It involves something else they’ve seen in recent months — many more Uber drivers (or drivers from similar services) picking up tipsy passengers late at night from bars and restaurants.
“Our DWI [driving while intoxicated] arrests are actually down a little bit, and the reason why I think we see that […] is the Uber drivers are doing a booming business in Darien” Police Capt. Don Anderson said at the April 5 quarterly town department heads meeting with the Board of Selectmen.
“Downtown weekend nights, we actually almost have an Uber parking lot where people are trying to park as close as they can to our local nightlife restaurants to pick up fares,” Anderson said.
“I think people are being very responsible. With the technology, all they have to do is hit a button and get a car. It’s a win-win for us. A ot of folks are not taking chances of driving under the influence.
“They’re using an Uber car. The midnight [police shift] folks have let us know that those Uber cars are continually circling the downtown area to take people home.”
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson asked if there were any problems with the Uber drivers. She pointed out that they may be taking business away from licensed taxi drivers and asked Anderson if there were any reports of bad behavior from Uber drivers.
“What can we tell our community about the safety of this new burgeoning service here in town?” she asked.
“We haven’t really had any issues with Uber drivers on the Uber drivers’ side. We have had a couple of people who didn’t know they had to pay the fares, or maybe weren’t in a condition to know they have to pay the fare.”
He said police always say that people should take reasonable precautions. For instance, “If you don’t feel comfortable when an Uber driver comes up, don’t get in the car.”
But, he added, “So far, so good. We haven’t had any complaints on the drivers themselves.”
One innovation in the industry Uber is in has started in Boston, Anderson said, where a driver service only has women behind the wheel, and they only pick up women, because “Some women don’t feel comfortable getting in with a male driver.”