Uber Administering Breathalyzer Test to Drunk People in Manayunk Tonight

And you'll get a free ride home whether you are wasted or not.


If you’re like most Americans, you will be doing one of two things on Wednesday night: Baking pies for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner or going out and getting drunk. And for those in the latter camp, Uber wants to make sure you’re not getting behind the wheel.

For Thanksgiving Eve, Uber is heading to Manayunk — one of the biggest drinking destinations in the region — with UberSMART, a service it has previously offered in Miami, Austin, Toronto, Montreal and Cincinnati. The UberSMART kiosk will be set up on the street for one night only, and Manayunk is the one neighborhood in the entire country where UberSMART will be deployed.

The idea is this: If you’ve been drinking (and if you are on the street in Manayunk tonight or any night, the chances of you not being a little tipsy are 1,000,000 to 1 against and rising), you walk up to the UberSMART kiosk, the machine dispenses a straw, and you blow through the straw into a hole on the front of the kiosk.

The UberSMART breathalyzer tests your blood alcohol level and lets you know in a matter of seconds if you are over the legal limit. The machine is recalibrated for each market, since legal limits vary by state. Whether you’re legally drunk or not, you get a free Uber or UberXride — well, up to a $20 value. The kiosk gives you a promo code, and then you use that code for your free ride home. Or to the next bar. Or to the Llanerch Diner for 2 a.m. breakfast. Whatever.

Studies have shown that DUI rates have gone down after UberX enters a market, hardly surprising since it’s cheaper than a cab, dramatically more convenient, and they’ll pick you up at whatever far-flung dive you find yourself in.

Our one critique of the UberSMART breathalyzer kiosk is that instead of simply giving you a pass/fail grade, the kiosk displays your actual level on the screen, and we can only imagine that some of the amateur drinkers that flock to Manayunk will compete to see who can get the highest number.

“We once had a contest in Manayunk for who could blow the highest on a breathalyzer that some cop’s kid had,” says Philadelphia magazine reporter Dan McQuade, confirming our suspicions.

But seriously, whether you’re in Manayunk, Malvern or Moyamensing, don’t drive even a little bit drunk.