You’ve just spent a night out with your friends, had a few drinks, and need a safe way to get back home. What’s the most popular solution these days?
The popular ride-sharing service has become well known across America as the best way to avoid driving home after having a few too many drinks. The company even promotes on their website that cities with Uber have “fewer drunk drivers on the streets.” However, a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found no noticeable impact on the number of drunk driving deaths in cities where Uber provides its services.
“Obviously the rise of Uber and Lyft has been incredible, and we were curious about potential implications,” David Kirck, co-author of the study from the University of Oxford, told CNNMoney. To conduct the study, Kirck and his partner Noli Brazil examined drunk driving numbers in the Top-100 most populated metro areas in the United States from 2009 to 2014. The study found that the rise of Uber has not correlated with a decrease in deaths overall or during peak hours such as weekend nights.
Kirck points to a number of reasons why Uber hasn’t helped slow the number of drink driving deaths. First, drunk drivers, who are already not thinking clearly, may not feel like waiting and paying to be picked up, and they like their odds of making it home safe without getting caught (Out of 121 million incidents of drunk driving in the United States, only 1.1 million are arrested). Additionally, there are simply not enough Uber drivers in the United States to make a real dent in the 10,000 people who die every year in drunk driving accidents. While there are hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers working each month in the United States, there are still 4.2 million people who decide to drive drunk every month.
CNNMoney pointed out that Uber continues to claim its service can help decrease drunk driving, as it often refers to another study that shows a 3.6% to 5.6% decrease in drunk driving deaths in California. “We’re glad Uber can provide an alternative to drunk driving and help people make more responsible choices. Our ridership numbers show that trips peak at times when people are more likely to be out drinking and 80% of riders say that Uber has helped them personally avoid drinking and driving,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.
Kirck offered that companies like Uber can have a more substantial impact in the future. “It will be important to revisit the findings in a few years, assuming Uber and Lyft have even greater presence in the United States and beyond. And if Uber and Lyft can find a way to have greater appeal to drunk drivers, then there is a possibility of bring fatalities down.”
Make no mistake about it: there is NO good excuse for getting behind the wheel while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only do you put yourself in harms way, you also endanger everyone else on the road. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in helping victims of drunk driving car crashes receive the help they deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.