On an individual level, it makes sense to assume that having easy access to a broader range of transportation options can curb instances of drunk driving and thus reduce DUI arrests and traffic fatalities. Since Uber launched in San Francisco in 2010, researchers have delved into whether or not rideshare services reduce drunk driving-related arrests, accidents, and traffic fatalities in the cities where they are available. As it turns out, there are mixed data regarding this issue and more study is required to reach a final conclusion.
Uber May Have Reduced Drunk Driving Incidents in NYC
Correlation implies that Uber may have had a positive effect on four boroughs in New York City by significantly reducing the number of alcohol-related car accidents. An independent study by the City University of New York found that since Uber’s arrival to NYC in 2011, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan all experienced a 25%-35% reduction in alcohol-related traffic accidents compared to other areas where the rideshare service does not operate. This accounts for about 40 fewer collisions per month in those boroughs.
The author of the study, a doctoral candidate at CUNY, sees a positive trend unfurling where access to rideshares reduces drunk driving incidents. Although she wrote the study, she acknowledges that more evidence is needed to establish causation.
Evidence Inconclusive in Other Major Cities
Another study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that there is no correlation between Uber’s operations in a large city and a decrease in traffic deaths caused by drunk driving. The study looked at one hundred of the most populated urban areas in the country between 2009 and 2014. Researchers David Kirk of the University of Oxford and Noli Brazil of the University of Southern California found that Uber’s presence failed to relate to a decline in DUI traffic deaths overall or during peak drinking hours. Several reasons may shed light on why Uber may not have had much impact:
- Uber may be considered just one more transportation option, like a taxi or public transportation rather than a replacement for a potential drunk driver’s own car.
- Inebriated persons may not make rational decisions and may decide against paying for a lift rather than using their own cars. Statistics show that out of 121 million DUI incidents each year just 1.1 million are arrested.
- The ratio of Uber drivers to potential drunk drivers is far from even. Where there are several hundred thousand active Uber drivers in any given month, there are over 4 million drunk drivers on the roads in the same time frame.
The next time you plan a night out with friends that involves drinking, it’s wise to assign someone the role of designated driver or take public transportation or a taxi service to and from the venue. Choosing Uberpool can help you save some money by getting a ride with other travelers going the same direction. Alternative forms of transportation relieve the pressure of taking home your car at the end of the night. Even one drink can show up on a roadside breath test. Although these tests are hardly accurate, they heavily influence police officer’s decisions when determining whether to take a DUI suspect to the police station for further testing. Additionally, you may face penalties for refusing to take the test.
The best defense against a DUI in West Palm Beach is one developed by a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has dedicated his career to criminal defense, placing a special emphasis on DUI defense in Palm Beach County. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us online for a free consultation.