Uber driver caught drunk accepting passengers

The taxi industry froths as another Uber driver adds fuel to the ridesharing safety debate. This weekend, an Uber driver was pulled over and allegedly found to be drunk behind the wheel; despite his condition, he reportedly accepted passengers and was on his way to pick up another, the latest blemish on Uber's public face. Uber, of course, has denounced the driver's decision and has already nixed him from its platform.

According to law enforcement, the driver was Robert Wing who allegedly took to Uber as a driver following an evening spent watching the Super Bowl at a bar. The incident took place in Simi Valley, with the reporting officer, Cmdr. Robert Arabian, saying he spotted the car at an intersection at 1:40AM. The car reportedly did not have a license plate and slowed down at a green light.

The officer stated that Wing presented himself as an Uber driver and admitted to having picked up two or three passengers already. A test revealed he had a blood alcohol level of .25 percent, resulting in an arrest for DUI, as the local limit allows for operation up to .08 BAC. Law enforcement also says it found beer cans in the vehicle, an image of which it later released to the public.

Uber issued a statement about the news, saying:

We have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol or drug use for anyone driving on the Uber platform. We are clearly disappointed to hear that something like this could have occurred and have permanently removed this driver-partner's access to Uber.

Safety has been one of the big talking points when it comes to ridesharing services, and though the taxi industry has inflated the concerns in some ways, there have been legitimate reasons to give the topic consideration. Incidents have resulted in the past, including one involving a hammer and another that involved a kidnapping of sorts.

Of course, Uber drivers have also been abused by passengers, showing the other side of the coin.

Uber has taken steps to address safety concerns both in the U.S. and abroad. For example, around this time last year it partnered with SafetiPin for an initial launch in New Delhi, India, and later on in other places including Columbia and Nairobi. Still, some US officials have called the company's driver vetting into question, with critics claiming the service had lackluster evaluations that allowed unacceptable individuals to get past the screening process.