Thank you, Uber and increased penalties.

That's the long and short of why Linn County saw a drop in drunk driving cases last year. Penalties for intoxicated driving now sit at anywhere between 48 hours to a year in jail with up to a $1,200 fine.

Not worth it, especially since now all you have to do is push a button to hail a safe and sober ride home. Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services are easy to use, much less expensive than the aforementioned fine, are less of a burden to your own and others' lives than the alternative, and continue to grow in popularity.

Cedar Rapids police sergeant Al Fear estimates that on average, 10 to 30 Uber rides are taking place at any given moment across Cedar Rapids alone. Fear coordinates the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau’s special Traffic Enforcement Program for the department.

There has been up to a 15 percent drop in Cedar Rapids OWIs since Uber started operating here in 2014, according to Public Safety coordinator Greg Buelow of the CRPD. It's possible this is just a coincidence but there's no denying the availability of ride-hailing has been a big draw.

Drunk driving cases dropped from 1,027 in 2017 to 742 last year. This is all very good news, and we'd love to see the trend continue. Keep it up, Cedar Rapids.

[Via Gazette]

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