In an effort to keep people under the influence off the roads when they’ve been drinking, a judge in Ohio is ordering folks who have been convicted of drunk driving to install ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft.
In addition to levying fines and suspending drivers licenses, Judge Michael A. Cicconetti of Painesville Municipal Court is also handing out orders requiring offenders to download transportation apps and set up an account with a credit card as a condition of probation, reports The News-Herald.
“It’s not one of those unusual sentences. There’s nothing crazy about it,” Cicconetti said. “It’s just common sense. Now that we have the technology and most people have the ability to do that, why not make it part of their sentence?”
He adds that if one person can be saved from driving drunk, getting into an accident, and hurting someone, it’s worth it.
“It doesn’t cost anybody anything to install it and activate it, and it’s far cheaper than paying the thousands of dollars you’d have to pay for another OVI,” he notes.
The judge got his inspiration from a repeat drunk driving offender, who he realized he couldn’t keep from drinking — but he could try to prevent him from climbing behind the wheel afterwards. When he saw him out drinking at a local club, he suggested that the man hail a ride with Uber or Lyft to get home.
“He said, ‘I don’t know how to do it.’ I said, ‘I tell you how you’re gonna do it,’ ” the judge recalled. “‘You’re gonna go back to probation here today and they’re gonna show you how to do it. And I want you to install that.’ ”
The next week, he decided to make it a part of the sentence for other drunk driving offenders. He says he hopes all municipal judges follow his lead, while noting that he’s not promoting Uber or Lyft.
“In the next 20 years, they’ll have self-driving cars anyway so we won’t have to worry about it,” he joked.
Of course, just because one has these apps doesn’t mean they will be used, particularly when intoxicated. As sports writer Tim Cowlishaw — no stranger to DUI arrests — recently noted, there is a certain degree of hubris and obliviousness at play that allows some people to believe they can drive when they shouldn’t.
Addicts, argued Cowlishaw, “don’t readily sacrifice control, even for something as simple as handing over their car keys.”
[h/t Ars Technica]