Many Americans assume that the availability of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft reduce the number of DUI’s, DWI’s, and other drinking-related offenses. But, does the research agree? A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that rideshare apps had no impact on DUI/DWI and other drinking-related charges and deaths in cities where the rideshare companies operate. Using data from before and after Lyft, Uber and other rideshare companies came to market, the study by Oxford University and the University of Southern California concluded that (contrary to popular belief) rideshares did not make a dent in the high rate of drinking and driving.
The 2016 study theorized that the lack of change in DUIs/DWIs could be due to lack of understanding how to use the technology, surge pricing, lack of drivers in some areas, impaired judgment, or refusal to leave a vehicle behind.
Uber claims that its use can curb drunk driving and has even partnered with nonprofits to advocate for safe driving such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. While many Uber users (up to 80 percent) say they’ve used the rideshare service to avoid drinking and driving, this isn’t reflected in the numbers, particularly the average number of drinking-related crashes, severe injuries, and fatalities. That could be attributed to Uber users who previously used taxis and public transportation to avoid drunk driving. Additionally, distracted driving may be more of an issue because drivers are required to use in-app mapping services and respond to riders instantaneously.
There are conflicting reports, and more study is needed to zero in on the impact rideshare services have on drinking and driving arrests and fatalities. Researchers at Western Carolina University theorized that a 2.8 to 3.4 percent decline in drinking-related offenses could occur each month Uber and/or Lyft is available in a given region. It takes time for word to spread and for users to get used to the smartphone interface of the apps.
There are many variables that contribute to the number of DUI’s in a given region, and the use of rideshare services including Uber may reduce this as time goes on, but for now, the data suggests little to no improvement in most cities.
What to Do After a DUI or Rideshare Accident in Maryland
Our attorneys at Portner & Shure in Maryland, Virginia, and DC handle rideshare accident cases and can make sure injured victims and their families receive the compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering that they’re owed following an Uber accident. We also provide criminal defense for clients who were issued a DUI, DWI, or another drinking or drug-related offense.
Contact our auto accident and criminal defense attorneys in Maryland today at (301) 854-9000. Portner & Shure have three convenient locations in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC and offer multi-lingual services to clients in the area.