Taking A Closer Look: Do Ridesharing Apps Truly Affect the Incidence of DUI?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 02, 2018 | 0 Comments

Some judges and alternative DUI sentencing programs mandate that offenders download popular ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft. The ridesharing giants themselves have published blogs and other media touting themselves as "partners" in the "fight" against drunk driving, with Uber citing an alleged reductionin the number of drunk driving charges in the cities in which it runs. However, the Daily Business Review (DBR), among a slew of other publications have scrutinized these claims, taking a long hard look at the supposition that ridesharing reduces DUIs, with mixed results.

The DBR writes:

Logic dictates that having ride sharing apps at the tip of everyone's fingers would substantially cut the rate of drunk or buzzed driving. The power to summon a sober driver with the touch of a smartphone for a reasonable price would lead most reasonable people to guess that DUI rates have fallen substantially across the nation. However, a closer look at the available studies seem to paint a murkier picture as to the effects of ride-sharing as it relates to DUI rates.

Giants like Uber and Lyft and the statistics supporting alleged DUI rate reductions could benefit from any improvements in or additions to public transportation - unrelated to the apps but nevertheless bolstering their image. However, there is at least some supportive and compelling research to suggest that ridesharing apps are the effective preventative factor they have been made out to be.

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking ride-sharing to DUI incidences. Four major U.S. cities suspended ride-sharing services intentionally, only to reinstate them later. The data from Portland, Oregon was dramatic: automobile crashes where alcohol played a role plunged 62 percent. We should be wary of statistics with sweeping results such as this. Despite this drastic reduction in the amount of alcohol-related crashes, there was no change in the amount of crashes which led to injury. That said, the correlation is optimistic, especially for persons who want to go out and have a drink and need easy access to a ride home.

Uber, for one, is far more modest in the results it broadcasts about the potential effect the company has on the reduction of DUIs. On the company's site, they reference "a Temple University study which says cities that implemented ride-sharing with Uber experienced a decrease of 3.6 percent to 5.6 percent in the number of alcohol-related automobile fatalities." These more modest statistics allow more room for nuance and complexities in the possible effect that ridesharing apps may have on DUIs. It is tempting to say that the availability of such services would cause a drastic reduction, and also advantageous to these companies to make such hasty assertions, however, the verdict is still out and they have not been in place long enough to truly gauge their effect on the incidence of DUI in Georgia and across the Country at large.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Georgia, do not hesitate to contact a Georgia DUI attorney at 404-816-4440 to review your case and begin building your defense.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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