Cairns Uber driver to face court after allegedly busted drink driving twice

Grace Mason, The Cairns Post

March 19, 2017 9:48am

A CAIRNS Uber driver has lost his job and will face court next month after he was allegedly caught drink driving twice within an hour.

Just a day after the launch of the controversial ride sharing service in the city, a 36-year-old driver from Redlynch allegedly had three passengers in his vehicle when he was pulled over by police along Mulgrave Rd on Friday night and registered a blood alcohol reading of 0.09 per cent.

It is alleged that despite having his license suspended for 24 hours after the positive reading, he returned to the vehicle and was caught just a short distance down the road in Hoare St with a blood alcohol of 0.077 an hour later at 2am.

He has been charged with two counts of drink driving and one count of driving whilst suspended and is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court next month.

An Uber spokesman said all drivers were aware drink or drug driving was not tolerated.

“Safety is our top priority,” he said.

“We make it clear in our community guidelines that anyone who drives on the platform having used drugs or alcohol will have their access to the app removed.”

Far North police Insp Rhys Newton said the alleged incident was concerning given people use services such as taxis and Uber to avoid drink driving.

“Unbeknown to them (the passengers) have allegedly exposed themselves to a driver under the influence and they’re paying for it as well,” he said.

Cairns Taxis chairman Layne Gardiner described the alleged incident as “just lunacy”.

“That’s what our business is about, keeping drink drivers off the road,” he said.

Mr Gardiner said they would wait a month to look at the impact the introduction of Uber has had to the taxi industry in Cairns.

The Uber spokesman said the overall response to the service had been positive since its Cairns launch last Thursday.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from first time riders who are enjoying a new way to get a reliable and affordable ride across town at the push of a button,” he said.

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