Lyft Driver Arrested for Being Drunk While Transporting Passenger

By May Wilkerson 03/17/16

While Lyft has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy, there are no national laws that mandate drug and background testing of ride-share drivers. 

Lyft Driver Arrested for Being Drunk While Transporting Passenger
Photo viaWiki Commons

Well, here’s a terrifying story for those who rely on car services like Uber and Lyft to get home safely. A driver with ride-sharing service Lyft, which matches drivers with passengers via smartphone app, was reportedly arrested last week in Austin, Texas, for driving drunk with a passenger on board.

According to an Austin police record, the driver, Allen Edmonds, had been veering across lanes before an officer pulled him over. The passenger, Alex Grant, said that he watched the officer conduct a roadside sobriety test, and the driver “failed it pretty hard.”

Lyft has a “zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy” for its drivers, and doesn’t tolerate any behavior that threatens the safety of passengers, said spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna. "Upon learning of this incident, we permanently removed the driver's access to Lyft," she said. 

According to the company’s website, Lyft will not hire drivers if they have a drunken-driving offense or drug-related conviction in the past seven years. Though Edmonds fit these requirements, he did have a drunk driving charge dropped in 2004, as well as two counts of possession of a controlled substance, court records show.

In an attempt to combat problems like this, some states and cities have introduced legislation requiring drivers for ride-share companies to undergo drug tests and background checks. Last year, California introduced a bill that would require all Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo drug testing. And the year before, Chicago began implementing “common sense” drug testing on drivers. But so far, there are no national laws mandating this kind of oversight.

On the bright-ish side, Grant says he got a bunch of free Lyft rides as a consolation for his trouble. "I contacted them right away and talked to their critical response team and I got five free rides out of it and that's, like, not really much," he said. "Kind of puts a weird value on my life, right?" Regardless, Grant, who has been a regular user of Lyft, said the incident doesn’t reflect on the company and that he would continue to use the car service in the future.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.