Is Uber Saving Us from Drunk Driving Accidents?

The rideshare service, Uber, is used by millions around the United States and the world. The company has made claims in the past that it has brought down drunk driving accidents and arrests in largely populated cities because more people choose to take the service, which is cheaper than cabs, than drink and drive. But, how true is this assertion?

There have been a few studies that say Uber has reduced DUI accidents and there have been others that state it’s not the case or that more studies need to be done to make a definitive connection between the two. A recent independent study found that in New York’s four boroughs (not including Staten Island), DUI crashes have declined by up to 35 percent after Uber began its ridesharing services in 2011. The study compares numbers to other cities where Uber was not operational. That adds up to about 40 fewer crashes each month in city boroughs.

What Various Studies Show

However, not all studies are arriving at the same conclusion. A report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2016 looked at 100 counties that are densely populated and did not find a direct link between Uber’s services and the number of traffic accident deaths. Experts however say that it makes sense that ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft should help prevent or at least reduce the number of DUI crashes, particularly during the holiday season, the time between Christmas and New Year, when these types of crashes increase.

However, they caution against making widespread assumptions on this issue because people who drive drunk are not necessarily making well thought out decisions when they are under the influence. Those who research the subject say there are a number of variables such as state laws and the type of access cities have to public transit systems.

A study released by Uber in 2015 showed that in many major cities, Uber ridership increased during times when DUI crashes are most likely to happen. It found for example in places where Uber was launched in California, the number of DUI crashes went down 6.5 percent among younger motorists.

Preventing DUI Arrests

If you are planning on going to a party this holiday or just about any time of year, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent a DUI arrest:

  • – Select a sober, reliable designated driver. This driver should also have a valid license and your emergency contact information handy.
  • – Take a cab or a rideshare service such as Uber, which can be a lot cheaper. You may also want to take public transportation. However, if you are too intoxicated, it is probably not safe to head out.
  • – Make arrangements before the party to sleepover at the party host’s home or book a hotel room nearby. That way, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get home.
  • – Hand over your keys to a trusted person if you plan on drinking and tell them not to give you the keys if you get drunk or impaired.
  • – If you are too drunk to drive, call a friend or family member to see if they will come and pick you up.
  • – If you are hosting a party, start events early so your guests can enjoy a drink or two without getting inebriated.

If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney who will help you fight the charges and avoid what could be severe penalties.