You’ve probably been there.
It’s 1:45am on a Friday night, the bartender just ran your tab, and you – being the responsible person you are – pause your drunk texting prowl to request a Lyft, only to see that surge pricing is in effect thanks to all the other responsible drunks out there.
Frustrated, you check Uber to see if they’re also under surge pricing. They are, so you go back to Lyft, begrudgingly request your expensive surge pricing ride, and start the seven minute wait for Hassan to arrive in a Ford Escape. You then get back to drunk texting or snapping or whatever it is the kids do today for drunk hookups, hoping you get a solid game plan put together before Hassan picks you up and asks for your destination.
Although you’ve probably been in that situation, Freshman State Rep. Merleyn Bell has probably not. Otherwise, I doubt she would have introduced a ridiculously stupid bill that would increase ride sharing surge prices by 20% in order to fund – get this – “drunk driving prevention programs.”
Check out this reverse logic stupidity via News 9:
A new bill filed in the Oklahoma house would increase prices on ride share customers to fund new programs to end drinking and driving.
House Bill 1143 is asking ride share companies like Uber or Lyft to create a new charge during “surge pricing” hours.
According to the bill’s text, added cost would be a 20 percent increase on surge pricing. Surge pricing normally happens on the weekends or during peak times, like sporting events or concerts.
The added money would then go to create a new revolving fund to be operated by the Department of Public Safety to use for drunk driving prevention programs. The department already has robust programs including the ENDUI program which sets up checkpoints along state roadways to check for impaired drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahomans are killed in drunk driving crashes at a rate nearly two to one compared to the national average.
Wow. That’s the best idea I’ve heard since those people from Oklahoma introduced DUI legal insurance! I can’t think of a better way to fund anti-drunk driving programs than to tax the people who are using a ride sharing service to avoid getting a DUI. While Merleyn is at it, maybe we should put a 20% surcharge on fruits and vegetables to help combat the obesity epidemic.
Naturally, Merleyn’s bill has been panned by just about everyone. As a result, she started a Twitter thread to try to justify the absurdity.
HB 1143 is intended to improve public safety by partnering with passenger ride share services to fund impaired driving prevention programs across the state.
The bill creates a revolving fund for the Department of Public Safety to use in implementing programs for the prevention of impaired driving known as the “Ride Share Responsibility Fund.”
All passenger ride share services would be required to divert proceeds collected during peak demand at the rate of 20% to the revolving fund. This is not a tax or a fee on Oklahomans.
Yeah, it’s not a tax or fee on Oklahomans. The state is just going to take 20% of what Uber or Lyft charges during peak demand, and the companies will happily go along with it. They won’t increase their surge pricing by 20% to account for the fee, which would make surge pricing even more expensive, and lead to more drunk drivers on the road. It makes perfect irrational sense, and is a much better idea than making ride share companies lower their surge pricing to keep fewer drunk drivers on the road.
Update: Thanks to angry Ogle Moles, the legislation is dead…
The intent of HB1143 was to partner with rideshare companies to help make Okla’s roads safer. Unfortunately, as some of my constituents have pointed out, the bill has some unintended consequences. Due to their concerns and further research, I have decided to pull the legislation.
— Rep. Merleyn Bell (@bell4norman) February 8, 2019