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Uber helps teens avoid drunk driving

Philadelphia teenagers choose to ride rather than drunk drive
Teen+using+Uber+at+night
Alexa Robles
Teen using Uber at night

The party that you told your mom you wouldn’t drink at just ended. Now you can barely see straight. Looking down at your phone you have three missed calls and 10 percent battery. The only option: order an Uber.

These days, parents are allowing their teens to ride Uber home from parties, causing underage drinking and driving incidents to dramatically decrease in Philadelphia.

After its creation in 2009, Uber became not only popular for adults to use to and from work but also for teens. Parents are creating conditions with their own children to make themselves feel more comfortable about their safety. A mother of four, given the alias Kate, has two teenagers ages 17 and 19. Kate has created rules with her children while they ride in Ubers.

“It took me a while to get comfortable but I have two rules when they ride Ubers,” said Kate. “One is they have to be with another person, I don’t feel comfortable with them riding in an Uber alone.”

Kate makes sure her children are accompanied when riding Uber because it makes her and her children feel more comfortable when getting into a strangers vehicle.

Kate added, “I also like them to tell me so I can track them through the app which I can see because we all share an account.”

Kate uses the shared app to make sure her children get to and from their destination safely. This also allows Kate to have the license plate number and status of their ride on her phone. Kate was at first not sure about the Uber App, but then she realized the benefits for her children’s safety.

“Uber really fills a void in families because it makes sure everyone gets home when I am not able to drive everyone around.” Kate adds, “Today, there is no reason for anyone to drive drunk. And so for me, that would be a major warning sign that there was a bigger problem at hand”.

A police officer at the Springfield police department, who for this article decided to use the pseudonym Mary, agrees there is no reason for teens to drive drunk.

Mary says, “during my time working as a police officer I would say seeing a drunk driver was very common.”

Mary would encounter drunk drivers often but through the beginning of her career she came across teenage drunk drivers much more often. “Between 20 and 30 percent were teenagers,” she said. “Definitely in the later half of my career the numbers have gone down.”

Police officer, Mary, still believes there are some risks that could come from the use of the Uber App.

“I would hope that Uber interviews all their drivers, so that they don’t take advantage of the teenagers,” said Mary. “We have had to arrest people for robbery when they ordered an Uber.”

Kate has some doubts about her own two teens’ safety when they use Uber. Her concerns not only come from the driver but the people on the streets at night.

“I always still do have two concerns,” says Kate. “One is how do you know the Uber driver is not inebriated? The other is if they are out at night, are there more risks because of other drunk drivers being out late and being reckless?”

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About the Contributor
Alexa Robles, Staff Writer
Alexa is currently a senior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and this is her first year on staff. Outside of school, she is always at the nail salon or in the Starbucks drive-through. She also thinks about driving her car all day.
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