Study Suggests Uber Reduces DUI Deaths

Illustration for article titled Study Suggests Uber Reduces DUI Deaths

You can have your own argument about Uber’s value as an industry-changing technology (just please don’t torch anyone’s car in the process). But one recent study looked at a particular effect of Uber: namely, when it started in California, did it reduce drinking and driving deaths?

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The research was conducted by professors from Philidelphia’s Temple University. They used data from the California Highway Patrol to examine the number of deaths due to alcohol-related car crashes, before and after UberX entered various cities.

The results suggest a small but strong correlation, with the entry of UberX into a city typically reducing the number of deaths by 3-5% in three months. The decrease in deaths is probably due to the cheapness of UberX: fares are around 20-30% cheaper than taxis, meaning drunk people are more likely to use UberX rather than driving home.

The number of deaths didn’t budge when the more expensive UberBlack came to town, and also remains unchanged on weekends, when surge pricing typically comes into effect — in other words, it’s all about the price.

The researcher’s methodology seems reasonably robust — the dataset is collected independently, and the multiple cities and large sample size involved give a good degree of confidence to the results (although there’s always room to be skeptical with this kind of statistical analysis).

[Social Science Research Network via Globe and Mail]


Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.

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DISCUSSION

nachogate1
Nachogate1

Sample size of one. I have ridden in a cab approximately twice while drunk (~8 years) prior to uber. I either walked, rode with a friend (possibly also drinking), or ashamed to say drove while probably over the limit. Im not proud of that fact but I want to be honest. Since uber became available in my area (~2 years), the convenience of getting a ride in less than 10 minutes I would say that I have gotten behind the wheel drunk to be reduced maybe 99%.

I specifically remember trying to call cabs pre-uber and being told either “too bad” or waiting 2 hours. which resulted in me finding other ways. I hope yellow cabs adapt because its obvious their method does not work anymore.