Additional research shows Uber’s role in reducing drunk driving nationwide

By: Kristin Smith, Head of Global Road Safety Policy

Impaired driving is one of the deadliest crimes in America — approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol. We have seen the impact impaired driving has on communities and how ridesharing can help solve this problem.

Last month, the Journal of American Medical Association published an independent study that proves we have made significant progress in reducing drinking and driving. The study, “Association of Rideshare Use With Alcohol-Associated Motor Vehicle Crash Trauma’’ showed that Uber’s presence in a city reduces the rate of drinking and driving crashes. After Uber entered the Houston market in 2014, motor vehicle collision traumas decreased by 23.8% on Friday and Saturday nights and 38.9% for individuals under 30 years old. DUI arrests decreased and impaired driving arrests declined overall in Houston’s city center.

While the Houston study shows the impact Uber has had on one city in America, a new study has been released that broadens this argument on a national scale. This new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows Uber’s direct role in reducing traffic fatalities throughout the United States.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley conducted a study that uses NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data from 2001–2016 and measured it against Uber activity from 2012–2016. This study improves on existing studies by using more granular Uber data on rideshare usage intensity on a census tract level. The research shows:

  • Uber has reduced alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the US by 6.1%, equating to 214 lives saved in 2019 alone
  • Uber has reduced overall traffic fatalities by 4%, equating to 494 lives in 2019 alone
  • This life-saving benefits translates to $2.3–4.5 billion dollars in 2019 alone
  • As with the JAMA study, the reduction in fatalities are strongest during evenings and weekends

The findings in each of these studies reinforces what we have been hearing from riders for years — Uber provides an alternative to drinking and driving. We thank all those who drive with Uber for helping millions of people get home safely. With greater access to transportation through technology, we can help people make the right choice, plan ahead, and eliminate drunk driving.

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