Groups face off before crucial Prop 1 vote on Saturday

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Unions representing Austin police, fire and EMS came out against Proposition 1, Thursday.

The groups, including the Austin Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), cited safety concerns, including a provision in Prop 1 that would allow ridesharing drivers to stop in lanes of traffic while picking up or dropping off customers.

Dr. Matthew Hersh, a statistician who lectures at the University of Texas, said the rideshare companies’ claim that their services lowered DWI arrests in Austin is inaccurate.

“There is no relationship, no correlation between Uber and Lyft and DWI accidents or DWI arrests,” Hersh said.

Voting “yes” on the proposition means standard background checks for these drivers will continue. Those checks do not include fingerprinting. A vote of “no” means these drivers will be required to go through fingerprint background checks in addition to criminal background checks.

On the other side of the Prop 1 fight, Ridesharing Works for Austin hosted a rally at City Hall Thursday.

The group said Uber Access, which launched last summer, provides a vital service to people who can’t get around easily.

Uber started offering the service following a 2014 lawsuit that claimed the company violated the American with Disabilities Act. Lyft does not have a similar service.

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