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Do Rideshare Services Decrease DUIs?

Drunk driving deaths in Indiana have been on a downward trend for the past two years. Could the presence of rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft have anything to do with this change? Possible. Some studies suggest that ridesharing services may help decrease incidents of driving under the influence.

What’s the evidence?

An independent study analyzing statistics from four of the five boroughs of New York found a 25 to 35 percent decrease in alcohol-related car crashes since Uber began operations in comparison to other places where the company isn’t present. 

Other studies show notable declines in DUI arrests in several California cities in the two years after ridesharing services appeared. San Diego had a 32 percent drop in arrests; San Jose and Sacramento saw arrests decrease by 28 and 26 percent respectively, while both the Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland areas saw a drop of 14 percent. 

Results not conclusive

But some studies have not attained such positive results. Researchers at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania1 found that ride-sharing services are linked to decreased drunk-driving crashes in certain cities–but not in others. Their analysis of data showed that Portland, Oregon, and San Antonio, Texas, had a decrease in alcohol-related crashes after Uber restarted operations in those cities after a hiatus, while the cities of Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada did not. The researchers suggest that the differences in the results might be related to the characteristics and conditions of the cities. 

Formal studies aside, officials in some cities believe that ridesharing has contributed to fewer drunk driving arrests. In Louisville, Kentucky, both the police and legal experts observed that impaired driving arrests have dropped by 50 percent since ridesharing became available.  

The Bottom Line

Although none of these studies and observations provide definitive evidence that ridesharing programs decrease drunk-driving arrests, the results are encouraging. The presence of rideshare programs can help people to make smarter choices before they get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Let’s hope that ridesharing programs in Indiana help the trend to continue.

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