Will UBER Ban Drunk Riders?
But isn’t that the point? Read on to find out if Automologist MAC is for or against this.
For me, Uber has been a life- and license-saver. Getting a taxi home late on a drinking night in downtown Kuala Lumpur was just about impossible. So, on occasion, and like many of my friends, we did drive when perhaps we should not have. Now, it appears there may be times when I am too drunk to drive and too drunk to call an Uber!
With the advent of ride-sharing services, driving over the limit should be a thing of the past. It is easy to get a ride home at night and thus none of us should ever be tempted to risk it ever again. Now, I like to think of myself as a reasonable, even affable drunk, but apparently, not everyone is like me. Let’s face it, a lot of drunk people are really not fun to deal with and they have a tendency to fall asleep or throw up in the car which, if you are an Uber driver and this is your source of income, is not a lot of fun.
There is a dark side to this as well for drunken passengers, with over 100 reported cases of alleged sexual assault or other forms of abuse, which may just be the tip of the iceberg. Passenger safety should always be a prime concern but the company is assessing the impact on the company as they suffer from bad publicity and even worse, lawsuits.
So, how do we solve this conundrum of drunk passengers causing trouble for Uber? Probably best if they just avoid giving rides to drunks, right? Well, it would appear that Uber has come to the same conclusion: Just don’t give intoxicated people rides! The company has in fact filed for a patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office as far back as 2016 for a system that can predict a user’s ‘state’.
The patent does not specifically mention that it is focusing on the inebriated amongst late-night riders. Instead, it talks about overly tired passengers who will have trouble locating their ride. However, the application lists a number of cognitive tests which, well, seem to be aimed at the inebriated and not the tired. These tests include speed and accuracy of passenger details, the angle at which the phone is being held, walking speed, location and the day and time of the week. Fed into the correct algorithm and, hey presto, you may be banned from getting a ride home, at least until you sober up a little.
I can see a plethora of exceptions that would open the company up to a myriad of lawsuits in the US of A, particularly from disabled riders. And what about the bad press if a drunk person is denied a ride and then ends up in a drink-drive accident? I think what Uber is missing and, hey, I know that cleaning a drunk’s puke out of the back of your car is a real pain in the backside, is that the transportation of drunk drivers has got to be seen as one of the fundamental foundations of the company’s business and thus all in a day’s work for an Uber driver.