A study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found that the rise in popularity of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft has resulted in a decrease in drunk driving related car accidents. Although this news is a positive indicator, the results are not as encouraging as they may seem. The study only found a decrease in drunk driving related accidents in some American cities—unfortunately it is not occurring nationwide.
The team of researchers examined car crash histories and Uber availability between 2013 and 2016 in four American cities: Reno, Nevada; Las Vegas, Nevada; Portland, Oregon; and San Antonio, Texas. The researchers apparently limited reference to the availability of Uber, because it is reportedly the largest ride-sharing business in these four cities.
According to the author of the study, in three of the four cities examined, crashes involving drunk drivers were reduced by a staggering 60 percent. Oddly, however, alcohol-related crashes were not reduced at all in Reno, Nevada. Researchers attributed this anomaly to specific local characteristics such as public transportation.
The study’s author, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, reported a surprise twist that no one expected, and researchers find difficult to explain. Although in three cities, the widespread presence of Uber reduced alcohol-related accidents considerably, there was no reduction in the number of car accidents and injuries overall. The only explanation suggested by the team was that some factor was offsetting the reduction in alcohol-related accidents, for example, an increase in crashes due to distracted driving. Researchers also suggested that it could be because the decrease in drunk-driving accidents was too small to detect within the overall crash rate.
In each of the four cities selected for this study, Uber service had been launched, discontinued, and eventually reinstated. When Uber services resumed in Reno, Nevada, there was no drop in the number of serious crashes or total crash-related injuries—another factor that is hard to fully analyze. However in Portland, Oregon, and San Antonio, Texas, the number of alcohol-related accidents declined when Uber services resumed.
What is even more confounding is that Reno, Nevada, the one city that had no reduction in alcohol related accidents, has a much less pervasive public transportation system than the other cities included in the study. One might think that with the advent of Uber, opportunities for intoxicated individuals to arrive home safely has increased, and that an even greater reduction in alcohol related crashes would be evidenced. Yet that was not the case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the experienced Mercer County car accident lawyers at Davis & Brusca LLC will fight for you. We are zealous advocates for victims of negligent drivers, and know how to gather the evidence needed to prove distracted driving, intoxicated driving, road rage, and drowsy driving. Do not speak to the insurance company until you have consulted with a member of our legal team. To schedule your consultation, call us today at 609-786-2540 or contact us online.
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