AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 19-year-old and his girlfriend were forced to find a safe ride home early on the morning of New Year’s Day after their Lyft driver was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Peyton Klam, who lives in Austin, said he called for a ride after ringing in the New Year downtown. He realized something was wrong when the his driver was speeding and swerving in and out of lanes.
“It was scary for me because I’m trying to get home safe, it’s 3 a.m. and this guy is not driving correctly,” Klam said. “It’s just a scary thought to think that he was intoxicated the entire time and we had no idea.”
Klam said around five miles into his ride home, police trailing the car signaled for the driver to pull over.
“They said, ‘Do you know why we pulled you over?’ And he said, ‘I have no idea.’ And he said, ‘Well, you are swerving in and out of lanes and driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit,’” Klam recalled.
Klam said the police officers asked the driver to step out of the car and administered a sobriety test. Shortly after that, a different officer approached the vehicle and informed the couple that they needed to call for a different ride because the driver was going to be arrested for drinking and driving.
APD is currently enforcing its “No Refusal Initiative” to crack down on drunk drivers during the holidays.
Police said it will run until Jan. 4.
Lyft has acknowledged what happened and said it has officially deactivated the driver. A spokesperson would not confirm the full identity of the employee or share his driving history.
The company has a strict zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy, the spokesperson said.
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft and we have a strict zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for Lyft drivers. Upon learning of this incident, we deactivated this driver. We have reached out to the rider and stand ready to assist law enforcement.”Dana Davis, Lyft spokeswoman
Klam said Lyft has been in communication with him to ensure he won’t be charged for his ride. But he said he cared less about the money and more about his safety.
“I hope that they can figure out a better way to make sure their drivers are staying safe,” Klam said. “You’re putting not only yourself at risk but the people you are driving, and its a scary thought that people think that’s okay to drive.”