Uber deploys curbside breathalyzer that hails you a free ride home

Use Uber's curbside breathalyzer. Blow over the limit. Get a free ride home.

'You drink, We drive' promises Uber Smart promotional video

Uber Canada is keeping the streets of Toronto safer, the company says, by offering a ride home to anyone who is too drunk to drive.

And how do they know someone is too drunk to drive? With a street-side breathalyzer-slash-Uber hailing stand.

The catch is: as of right now it's just a PR campaign. The popular ride-hailing service, which has had a bumpy entry into the Canadian market, tested out its Uber Safe kiosk at an unknown Toronto location last month for a few days and made a promotional video about it. 

Revellers spilling out of bars could blow into the curbside breathalyzer and if their blood alcohol content was above the legal limit the kiosk would send a car to their location to provide a ride home.

Think that sounds less than sanitary? Don't worry, the kiosk dispenses a clean, disposable straw to each user. 

​​Now, in the Uber Safe video, drunk divers are given a free ride home. Whether that's part of the long-term deal (unlikely) remains to be seen. 

"We want to ensure a safe, reliable and affordable ride home is available to everybody, especially late at night when drunk driving is most common and can be avoided, Ian Black, general manager of Uber Toronto, told Adweek.

Uber Canada told Buzzfeed that Torontonians should "stay tuned" for Uber Safe's next location. 


The company says there's an effort afoot to cool tensions with the cities it serves before it pursues new locations.

While Toronto Mayor John Tory has publicly defended Uber, saying companies like it are here to stay, a recent blitz in the city saw 11 charges laid against UberX drivers in a single weekend.

"Uber wants to be everywhere and we are constantly evaluating new opportunities," said Jeff Weshler, Uber Canada's General Manager for Regional Expansion.

Uber has met with varying levels of resistance in nearly every Canadian city it has entered, even as it has won plaudits for its innovative business model.

Municipal officials from Vancouver to Halifax have accused the company of operating illegally at best and endangering the lives of passengers at worst. They assert that Uber provides the services of a taxi company without complying with the licenses and regulations that govern that industry