Ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber are causing controversy for a number of reasons. Some worry about the exploitation of workers. Others are concerned about insurance and who bears responsibility for the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians when accidents do occur. A recent study does suggest that there is at least one safety benefit to the rise of these companies. Ride-sharing apps appear to be reducing the number of drunk driving accidents in cities where they have gained significant purchase.
Depending on your location, catching a taxi is not always a simple thing. People may be discouraged from leaving the car at home, even when they plan on celebrating, because of the inconvenience of finding an alternative. When a ride is as close as your cell phone, there is little excuse to endanger yourself or others by driving drunk.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently issued a report showing that a growing number of people are choosing Uber to handle transportation on the nights they are drinking. MADD surveyed people about their habits and found that attitudes were shifting. Nearly 80 percent of respondents reported that their friends were less likely to drive drunk since ride-sharing services became available.
MADD began an official relationship with Uber in 2014 with the goal of reducing drunk driving deaths. It has actively advocated for the expansion of Uber services in additional cities. Whether services like Uber or Lyft are ultimately a good thing or a bad thing, they do have the potential to make drunk driving accidents less common.
Source: WCSH6, “Study: Uber could help reduce drunk-driving accidents,” by Chris Costa, 19 January 2016
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