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Riverside police think Lyft rides will prove preferable to DUI arrests

A Riverside police officer performs a traffic stop in the west suburb, which will partner with Lyft to provide discount rides to people in cars where drivers are arrested for DUI. | Riverside Police Dept.

In a first for Illinois, the ride-hailing service Lyft has teamed up with a west suburban police department to offer reduced-rate rides with a goal of reducing drunken driving.

Lyft will offer reduction cards to people who are bonded out of custody after a DUI arrest, and passengers in vehicles whose driver was arrested for DUI, according to has teamed up with the Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel.

The discount is 50 percent off a ride up to $10, according to Lyft.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel

“While my officers will still aggressively enforce DUI laws, this will provide a way of reaching out to the community and perhaps preventing an impaired driver from
getting behind the wheel,” Weitzel said.

It’s the first police department to partner with Lyft in Illinois in an anti-DUI program, but the company has been offering reduction cards in other cities, including Seattle, company spokesman Campbell Matthews said.

According to a study by Lyft, 87 percent of passengers are more likely to avoid driving while intoxicated if Lyft is availalbe; and 48 percent of passengers will call Lyft for friends or family members who need assistance after drinking, Campbell said.

Riverside Police will begin distributing the promotional cards Monday night.

Weitzel noted that DUI arrests are already down in the village by 31 percent for the first six months of the year, and credits services such as Lyft for at least part of that decline.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the safety, affordability, and convenience offered by ride-sharing companies like Lyft have contributed to the significant drop in DUI arrests we have made so far this year,” he said.