Each day people drive intoxicated roughly 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are actually caught. Taxi drivers are expected not be a part of those impaired drivers, and to abide by the rules of the road by driving as safely as possible. An Oregon taxi driver, however, had a different idea.
According to The Register-Guard, a Eugene taxi driver drove extremely dangerously through the city, subsequently leading to a driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) arrest.
In early April, drivers and pedestrians lit up the Eugene 911 dispatch center as a taxi driver drove recklessly across the city. Fred Brittan Zeiger, 33, of Eugene was reportedly swerving in and out of traffic, struck a median, and hit a parked vehicle before eventually being pulled over by the Eugene Police Department.
Zeiger was booked in the Lane County Jail on charges of DUII, reckless driving, and hit-and-run. Zeiger’s blood-alcohol (BAC) level was .29, more than three times the legal limit of .08. No passengers were in the taxi at the time of the arrest.
For the majority of first time DUII offenders, they have the option of the DUII diversion program. If they are not diversion eligible (for whatever reason), the minimum fine is $1,000 with a $255 conviction fee. If the offender’s BAC was .15% or more, which it was in Zeiger’s case, the initial fine will be no less than $2,000. In addition to the various fines associated with a DUII, all convicted drivers in the state of Oregon must also be sentenced to a minimum of 48 hours in jail or 80 hours of community service. Further, they must undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment. A DUII attorney can provide legal assistance in the event of an arrest.
KVAL reports that Zeiger’s taxi certificate has been suspended with the intent to be fully revoked.
“Never had an instance of a driver driving under the influence,” said Jay Mayernik, general manager of Oregon Taxi. “He had a clean background check and a clean driving record. I don’t know if we could have seen this one coming in particular.”
Eugene Police added that Zeiger was recklessly driving for more than ten minutes.
“It’s sort of ironic,” added Mayernik. “One of the reasons this company is out here is to cut down on drunk driving and help give people an option to have a safe ride home.”