Uber and Lyft have provided many Americans with a desirable alternative to traditional public transportation and taxi services. Whether you need a ride to work when the weather is not conducive to biking, or you are downtown in the early morning hours trying to find a ride home so you don’t drive drunk, these apps can connect you to someone who can help you out. A study came out recently to suggest that ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have had a negligible effect on the rates of drunk driving in the United States. That seems like a strange conclusion to come to, does it not? It is – and it is a good example of the fact that you can’t trust every headline you read on the Internet.
The study in question comes from the American Journal of Epidemiology, and the results have spurred news stories in a variety of publications stating that Uber and Lyft do not decrease drunk driving. These titles are erroneous; the study they reference was not analyzing all aspects of drunk driving. It only sought to correlate fatal drunk driving accidents with the use of ridesharing. In the study, the authors clarify that they “did not examine Uber’s association with other traffic outcomes, including drunk driving incidences and nonfatal crashes.”
Studies that looked into the broader issue of drunk driving found that Uber does seem to have a dampening effect on drunk driving rates. For example, a June 2016 study from Providence College showed that when Uber enters a city, DUI rates fall by 15 to 62 percent. You may also look into the situation in Austin, Texas, from earlier this year. Uber and Lyft left the city due to strife with the local government; as a result, DUI rates spiked by 7.5 percent.
It would be bad science to take any one study’s results as fact, especially when researching recent creations like ridesharing programs. There’s always room for scrutiny – and it’s especially important to remain skeptical in this age of clickbait headlines. Next up – 7 Uber Lifehacks That Taxi Companies Don’t Want You to Know About (#4 Will Blow Your Mind!)
We kid, we kid.