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DWI's in Lincoln cut in half over last decade with rise of ride-sharing

(KVLY)
Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 10:35 PM CST
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The number of DWI's in Lincoln has been going down for the past decade, and the city says it has ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to thank.

10/11 talked to a former Uber driver who said she's proud to know she's helping lower statistics.

"I was an Uber driver for about four years," Vicki Clark said. "I got to meet a Swiss banker. I got to meet microbiologists. I got to meet plumbers, I got to meet everyone on the scale."

With a disco ball, tye dye steering wheel, and the nickname of "Disco Vic, she says she tried to make the drive home as much fun as possible for her guests.

"At 2 in the morning, I'd be heading downtown with the windows open and we'd be singing YMCA and people on the street would sing YMCA," Clark said.

And while it may seem like all fun and games, Clark says she took her role as a safe ride home seriously, because she worked in drug and alcohol recovery for 35 years.

"I was really pleased with the gratitude of people who would say "Oh thank goodness for Uber, thank goodness for Lyft," Clark said. "They'd say "If it hadn't been for you guys I'd be waiting in line for a cab or trying to sneak a ride with someone who's probably more impaired than I am."

The city of Lincoln says because of drivers like Clark, the number of DWI arrests in the capital city have been cut in half in the past decade.

Last year, there were 1,078 drunk driving arrests.

"That sounds like a lot, but that's less than half of where we were at our peak, which was in 2008 when there over 2,200 drunk driving arrests," said Director of Public Safety Tom Casady.

Casady says that number is even more impressive when you factor in Lincoln's growth.

"The number of drunk driving arrests has been cut in half during a time when the city has grown by a population of 35,000 people," Casady said. "That's the size of Kearney, Nebraska and yet our drunk driving has fallen by half."

While she doesn't drive for Uber anymore, Clark says she may just pick it back up again, because she wants to continue to be part of that trend.

"Yeah, we are getting paid for it and yeah, it's that, but it's also a public service," Clark said.

Statewide, Nebraska is echoing the results seen in Lincoln. In the last decade, DWI convictions have been cut in half, from nearly 14,000 in 2008 to less than 7,000 last year.