Uber helps pro football prevent DUIs

The NFL players' union has teamed up with Uber, the maker of an app that uses GPS to hail livery drivers, to keep its inebriated players from getting behind the wheel.

DeMaurice Smith is combating alcohol intoxication among NFL players

There is an interesting social experiment happening in the National Football League: the NFL players' union has teamed up with Uber, the maker of an app that uses GPS to hail livery drivers, to keep its inebriated players from getting behind the wheel and hopefully halt a string of dangerous incidents.

The union announced the partnership at a press conference yesterday. NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told the media that intoxicated driving was a top threat to the safety of its members. Over a dozen players have been arrested for DUI related offenses just thus year alone, U-T San Diego reports.

Last year, two Dallas Cowboys players were involved in a fatal car crash. The surviving player was arrested for driving under the influence and intoxication manslaughter. In 2009, a player struck and killed a pedestrian, and in 1998 another killed a passing motorist. A total of 177 players were arrested for driving while intoxicated from January 2000 until last December, according to USA TODAY Sports.

"We know that discipline certainly plays a part in changing behavior. But we really wanted to start this look at trying to do a better job by treating this as a public health and public safety [issue]," WIRED quoted Smith saying. "This partnership with Uber is something we believe meets that."

Uber last month raised US$258 million in financing from Google Ventures and TPG Growth, which also participated in the round. The company is planning a major expansion into Asia and is using clever marketing ploys to increase its presence within the United States, such as hailing ice cream trucks on hot days.

The company is disruptive to how transportation in U.S. cities. It has battled regulators and lawsuits throughout its existence, and it controversially has charged its customers more during foul weather and events (the service  isn't as regulated as taxi and limousine services). Uber recently announced fare splitting.

(image credit: CBSSports.com)

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