NFL Players Union to Try New Tool in Fight Against Drunk Driving

Football fans here in St. Louis and across the state of Missouri are busy gearing up for the Rams home opener this coming Sunday. In fact, even though kickoff is still many hours away at this point, it hasn’t stopped local sports broadcasters and beat writers from providing every last detail about the team’s preparations and about the league in general.

Interestingly enough, as meticulous as the media coverage of the National Football League typically is, many outlets likely missed a very interesting story concerning a new step being taken by the NFL Players Association to help cut down on the number of drunk driving arrests involving both players.

On Wednesday, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith announced that the union had officially entered into a partnership with Uber, a transportation company that allows people to “request, ride and pay” via their mobile phone. Here, players will have the option of downloading the Uber app, which can then be used to summon safe transportation to their exact location in just a few keystrokes and in a matter of minutes.

According to Smith, the reasoning behind the NFLPA’s partnership with Uber was that something needed to be transformed regarding player behavior, as previous methods of trying to get players home safe after nights on the town weren’t necessarily doing the job.

“The goal with Uber was to not only provide quick access to great transportation, but also to really look at all of the ways we can act to change behavior,” said Smith. “The Uber system uses the GPS technology built into the phone, so you don’t have to take the additional step of actually calling someone and having a conversation. The ease of the technology improves the readiness to utilize the service.”

While some many naturally question the need for such a partnership, consider the large number of players arrested for drunk driving during the 2013 offseason. Consider also, the circumstances currently faced by Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent, who is now facing up to 20 years in prison on intoxication manslaughter charges after being involved in a car wreck back in December 2012 that killed a teammate.

It should be very interesting to see if this new partnership helps cut down on the number of DWI arrests among professional football players. In the meantime, if you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, it’s imperative to consider speaking with an experienced attorney who will fight the charges against you.

Source: Sports Illustrated, “NFLPA partners with Uber to provide safer rides for players,” Doug Farrar, September 4, 2013

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