Uber, a rideshare program that has been in operation for over 6 years, gives riders an option to get around town without using the bus, a taxi, a bike or walking. Over the past couple of years, their program has greatly cut fares and in many cities they now also offer UberPool, where a rider can share a car with others to save even more.
Uber often argues that their app helps combat drunk driving incidents because riders are choosing to use their rideshare program over driving their own cars during times when they expect to consume alcohol. However, a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no noticeable impact on the number of drunk driving fatalities in cities where Uber operates. “We found that the deployment of Uber services in a given metropolitan county had no association with the number of subsequent traffic fatalities, whether measured in aggregate or specific to drunk-driving fatalities or fatalities during weekends and holidays.”
It is estimated that there are 121 million drunk driving incident s in the United States, resulting in 10,000 fatalities yearly. However, this study is limited to fatalities, not the number of potential DUI drivers who are using Uber as a transportation alternative, thus avoiding a drunk driving citation, or worst, a traffic accident with potential injuries and deaths.
In my experience, and specifically in San Diego, many drinkers are taking Uber, or its competitor Lyft, when heading out for a night on the town. In order for this study to be more accurate, I would like the American Journal of Epidemiology to study the effects of rideshare programs on overall drinking and driving patterns. It is my guess that both Uber and Lyft greatly reduce the number of people drinking and driving.
If you have a question about drunk driving, please contact the Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today: (619) 260-1122.