Does Uber Help Reduce Drunk Driving?

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With Uber, conventional wisdom suggests that fewer people would drive while intoxicated, since a car with a driver was just a few clicks away on your smartphone. Researchers actually looked into this issue and the results were rather alarming.

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This is what CNNMoney had to say regarding the study

“But a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found no noticeable impact on the number of drunk driving fatalities in cities where Uber runs.

“Obviously the rise of Uber and Lyft has been incredible, and we were curious about potential implications,” said David Kirk, from the University of Oxford, who coauthored the study.

Kirk and his coauthor Noli Brazil looked at drunk driving statistics in the 100 most populated metro areas in the United States for 2009 through 2014. It found that the rise of Uber didn’t correspond to any decrease in fatalities, overall or during peak drinking times like weekend nights.

There are a number of reasons Uber may not have a visible impact, according to the study.

Many drunk people take an Uber home at the end of a wild night out, but it may be an alternative to taxis or public transportation, not their own cars.

Drunk drivers, who are already less rational, may be hesitant to pay for a ride home when they can drive for free without getting caught. Even though there are 121 million incidents of drunk driving in the U.S. every year, only 1.1 million people are arrested for it.

The actual number of Uber drivers is still too small to make a dent in the 10,000 people who die annually in the United States in drunk driving accidents. There are hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers on the clock each month in the U.S., but there are still 4.2 million people who drive drunk every month.”

Bottom Line:

This is a controversial issue. Have you ever been in a situation where Uber has made a night on the town easier and safer for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Have to seriously question the validity of this study…here in Austin where Uber is infamously no longer operating (at present), we saw declines of between 15-20% in drunk driver rates year over year. Granted our public transit is nonexistent and our cabs are garbage, but still, I have a hard time believing it has no positive impact

  2. This is exactly what I use Uber for, as a personal driver after a night out on the town. The cashless environment is exactly what I need and I prefer the electronic interface over making a phone call for a cab. I too question the validity of this study as many people I talk to use Uber in much the same fashion.

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