The Social Science Research Network released a paper detailing Uber’s effects on DUI and fatal vehicle accidents caused by DUI.
According to the Cato Institute, the study monitored DUI arrests and crashes in over 150 cities around the world from 2010 until 2013. The study found that Uber does, in fact, lower the rate of both DUIs and fatal accidents. In the U.S., alcohol-related deaths accounted for 31% of all vehicle accident deaths.
Uber and other ridesharing services offer safe alternatives for would-be drunk drivers, so it makes sense the DUI rates have decreased. Uber is focusing much of their campaigning on the fact that they have had success at lowering DUI rates. Uber teamed up with the activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which claimed that Uber’s presence in cities greatly lowers DUIs and alcohol-related crashes.
The paper’s authors, Angela K. Dills of Providence College and Seal Mulholland of Stonehill College, said that the results changed annually. “For each additional year of operation,” Dills and Mulholland wrote, “Uber’s continued presence is associated with a 16.6% decline in vehicular fatalities.”
Part of the success Uber has had in decreasing the amount of alcohol-related accidents is because they target a demographic who are the leading drunk drivers in the country. Male drivers ages 20 to 24 are most likely to die in a drunk driving accident than anyone else.
The younger population drives drunk more than anyone else, but they also utilize technology and ridesharing apps more than anyone else.
Despite Dills and Mulholland’s paper proving Uber’s effectiveness at lowering drunk driving fatalities, the app loses its convenience if the Uber driver is also drunk.
WNCN reports that Michael Barnes, 31, had a blood alcohol level of .10 while he was operating an Uber vehicle with paying customers in the car.
“It’s totally unacceptable that anyone would try to drive impaired,” said New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David. “People are using this service because they expect not to need a designated driver, and if that person is impaired too, that defeats the whole purpose. That’s why this is of great concern to us.”