My first experience with a truly functional public transportation system happened in my 20’s living in New York City. The notion that a subway or a bus could take me almost anywhere I needed to go was mindblowing. I never worried about how my friends and I would get home from a bar. I never had to take car keys away from a friend who drank too much at a party. My friends and coworkers couldn’t believe that I’d never been in a taxi before I lived in NYC. I’d repeatedly explain to them that taxis didn’t just drive around looking for passengers in other cities the way they did in NYC. Often I was asked, “So if someone drinks more than they should, how do they get home?” I’d explain that when I worked as a bartender, we’d call a taxi company and then pray the drunk customer would actually stay put until the car arrived. Sometimes a taxi would take thirty minutes to get there. Sadly, customers rarely waited.
I was thinking about those exchanges when I was visiting my dentist. Since I was the last appointment of the day, and my dentist is directly across the street from a popular brewery, I sat and watched as happy hour patrons stumbled to the sidewalks, pulled out their phones, and requested rides home. I counted at least six groups get into the backseat of cars within the 20 minutes I was in the chair (no cavities, woo hoo!). I wished rideshare apps had been around when I was a bartender. It’s so easy now for people to do the safe thing. When you have better choices, you make better choices.
Here In California we are about to vote on Prop 22. This ballot measure has been proposed to save the app-based delivery and rideshare industry. Without Prop 22, hundreds of thousands of jobs will disappear. These apps rely on the “gig-economy,” where independent contractors, or freelancers, pick up work when and how they want it. They create their own hours, often using jobs with Uber, DoorDash, or Instacart to supplement income. Currently, more than one million Californians work for delivery and ride-share apps as independent contractors. If Prop 22 doesn’t pass, these apps will be forced to convert to the “classic” employee model, which would result in 900,000 jobs being eliminated. And with 900,000 fewer safe drivers out there, too many Californians will lose the opportunity to make the better choice after they’ve been drinking.
I, personally, am an independent contractor. That means I don’t work set hours, which gives me the flexibility I need to do that mom and coach thing. If I couldn’t be an independent contractor, my family’s life would drastically change. I would hate for that choice to be taken away from me, and I hate that if Prop 22 doesn’t pass, that choice will be taken away from almost a million of my fellow Californians. I would be a YES on 22 for that reason alone, but the safety aspects that Prop 22 would bring are what lead me to write this today.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving endorses Prop 22. Their research has shown that app-based rideshare services have significantly reduced DUIs and are keeping the public safer. According to studies by the University of California at Davis and Moll Law Group, DUI arrests decreased by 32 percent in San Diego, 28 percent in San Jose, 26 percent in Sacramento, and 14 percent in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland region in the two years after ride-sharing began in each of these areas. With more drivers, more lives are saved.
Prop 22 will also bring on some other important safety measures.
~Prop 22 will place a cap on driving hours to enhance public safety.
~Prop 22 will criminalize impersonating a rideshare driver (I can’t believe this isn’t already a crime).
~Prop 22 will mandate on-going background checks and training for all drivers. This is huge for me. With the pandemic, Mike and I have used grocery delivery services often. I like additional layers of safety for my family and my community alike.
There are lots of other powerful reasons to vote Yes on 22, like this one, or this one, or what the actual drivers themselves have to say about Prop 22. You can also find a slew of other fascinating information on the Yes on 22 website.