Founded in 2009, when Uber rolled out its services in American cities it promised to revolutionize the ride-sharing business. Connecting drivers with riders over a technology platform bought true innovation to the business of calling a cab and getting from point A to point B. From the outset, Uber has claimed that the ride-sharing service has reduced drunk driving.

Researchers David Kirk and Noli Brazil at Oxford University and the University of Southern California examined county-level data before and after the arrival of Uber and found that the ride-sharing service had no effect on drinking related or holiday and weekend related fatalities. Their findings were published in the July issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the single largest cause of traffic fatalities in the United States is drunk driving. In 2012, more than 10,000 people were killed following car crashes with drunk drivers.

Why No Effect Measured?

The authors of the study identified a number of factors that contribute to their finding of no effect on drinking related fatalities in American cities where Uber is available. They are as follows:

  • There are still not enough ride-share drivers available. There are 210 million licensed drivers and an estimated 4.2 million drivers who drive drunk – only 1 million of these drunk or impaired drivers get arrested.
  • The intoxicated person who now calls Uber is the same intoxicated person who used to call a cab. Some people do the right thing and continue to do the right thing with or without prompting.
  • The odds of being caught drunk driving continue to be low. Many drunk drivers are willing to risk driving while intoxicated rather than find an alternative way home after a drinking event.

Uber’s Response and Position

Uber points to internal surveys and other studies that support the theory that ride-sharing cuts down on drunk driving.

  • 80% of Uber riders stated that the ride-sharing service helped them avoid the activity of drinking and driving, particularly during peak drinking times – events, happy hour, and partying.
  • A Providence College and Stonehill College study found reductions in DUIs of as much as 62% and a decline in traffic fatalities in cities where Uber operated.
  • In California cities where UberX, a lower price ride-sharing Uber service, operates drunk driving related car crashes have fallen by 60 monthly among drivers under 30 preventing 1,800 drunk driving car crashes since the UberX service was introduced in 2012.
  • Uber has partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to promote the ride-sharing service as a way home following a drinking event. “A city with Uber has . . . fewer drunk drivers on the streets.”

Hire a DWI Defense Firm

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI in the Plano or Denton areas of Texas contact the The Law Office of Kimberly Griffin Tucker, P.C. Our team of experienced lawyers and legal professionals will provide information, analyze your, case and recommend a prompt solution to your DWI matter, including trial if necessary.