Getting home safely after a night out

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer

Every day in the United States 30 people are killed in car crashes that involve a drunk driver. That’s one person every 51 minutes. It’s estimated that two-thirds of American drivers will be involved in an alcohol-related accident during their lifetimes. And globally 30 to 40 percent of road deaths are caused by alcohol, according to the World Health Organization.

Not surprisingly, most of these tragic accidents happen at night and during the weekend — exactly when it’s typically been hardest to get home, because in many cities public transport shut downs or is severely limited at night, while taxis are also few and far between.

Services like Uber — where passengers push a button and get a ride in minutes, whatever time of day it is — can help change all this. We’ve seen firsthand that when faced with a reliable alternative people don’t drink and drive after a dinner or night out. In fact, in almost all the cities where we operate, Uber’s rush hour is not first thing in the morning or at the end of the day when people are getting to and from work, but late at night when bars close. Our busiest times each week are typically Friday and Saturday night. Here’s a graph of requests for Uber rides over the course of a week in London:

This trend holds across different cities:

Put another way, we see that requests for rides spike near locations that serve alcohol later at night:

Earlier this year Temple University researchers Brad Greenwood and Sunil Wattal compared rates of alcohol-related deaths in California cities before and after Uber was available. They found that the arrival of Uber in a city led to a 3.6%-5.6% decrease in the number of people killed in cars due to alcohol. Another study in Seattle found that DUI (driving under the influence) arrests fell 10 percent after Uber’s launch.

Ridesharing services like Uber are changing the way people think about drinking and driving. By providing a reliable ride at the push of a button — no matter the time or place — Uber is empowering people to make better, safer choices.