Every day in the United States, 28 people die in car accidents that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Statistically this comes out to a death every 51 minutes on American roadways that is influenced by alcohol.
Since many people take taxis when they have had too much to drink – or get a friend to drive them home – it’s been wondered by many how the advent of new transportation companies like Uber and Lyft have affected the number of drunk driving car accidents in the U.S.
Logic Says It’s Had Some Effect on the Number of Car Accidents
Logically speaking, it makes sense that at least some people – in lieu of getting in their cars drunk and driving – have called a service like Uber or Lyft and have gotten home that way. And since it is hard to imagine a scenario where the existence of Lyft and Uber actually caused someone to drive drunk when they wouldn’t have otherwise, it’s safe to assume that these services have reduced the amount of people getting in their car while intoxicated.
Whether or not this has had the effect of reducing accidents and deaths on the road is another question, and one that is harder to quantify. Again, logic would dictate that if the number of people that didn’t drive drunk and took an Uber/Lyft instead were large enough it would be statistically impossible for the existence of those companies not to have prevented at least one accident.
But that doesn’t tell the story of how much of an effect they have had.
Earlier this year The New York Times took a look at several studies involving Uber and the possible reduction of alcohol-related car accidents.
A recent study done in New York City showed “that in four boroughs of New York City, excluding Staten Island, there has been a 25 to 35 percent reduction in alcohol-related car accidents since Uber came to town in 2011, as compared to other places where ride-hailing company doesn’t operate,” said The New York Times.
“We need more evidence, but the trend seems to be pointing toward ridesharing reducing drunk-driving incidents,” said Jessica Lynn Peck, a doctoral candidate at the City University of New York Graduate Center who wrote the study.
On the other hand, a report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology looked at 100 densely populated counties across the United States and found no correlation between the rollout of Uber services and the number of traffic fatalities.
Finding correlation between Uber/Lyft and drunk-driving accidents is tricky when so many factors go into car accidents themselves. But it’s sure to be an issue that will be looked at closely for years to come.
If you’ve been in an accident involving a drunk driver, contact the diligent accident attorneys at Hilton & Somer, LLC for a free consultation.