You can say many things about California and its politics over the last several decades. One thing that most people can say about California is that it passes laws designed to protect residents from themselves.
Whether that is good or bad depends much on your political perspective. But it is safe to say that at the very least, the intent is for public safety and health.
Being such a populous state, California has understandably one of the higher DUI and drunk-driving numbers in America, and the state has continued to put pressure on prosecutions and sentencing for DUI crimes in an attempt to reduce the numbers of DUIs and improve overall traffic and road safety.
DUIs are the area where many states draw up legislation to crack down on drunk driving. California is of course one of those states that modifies and updates its laws. In 2018, the Golden State has taken another step in getting people out of the driver’s seat if they’ve been drinking too much.
This year, one of the adjustments made is directly tied to the new sharing economy that has burst on the scene in the last decade. When it comes to driving, rideshares like Uber or Lyft – where ordinary people use their ordinary cars as a taxi service – provide rideshare opportunities to others without the overhead of a taxi company.
The new DUI law on the books in California lowers the drunk-driving threshold. For most drivers, a .08 blood-alcohol concentration signify legal impairment while driving. A new law that took effect January 1 lowers the BAC level to .04 for rideshare drivers who have an active fare on board.
It is certainly one thing to drive by yourself while you have been drinking, but it is another thing to uphold an expectation of care and professionalism in a ridesare opportunity. Taxi services have a code of due care and diligence in transporting passengers, and California law now meets with that came care and diligence for rideshare drivers in the same vein.
DUI laws can vary from state to state, and many of them have different priorities in terms of the focus of the laws (protecting children, protecting rideshare passengers, etc.). With alcohol being considered one of the top causes of accidents on U.S. roadways, the need to discourage or have negative incentives for drinking and driving has become a high priority for the sake of public safety.