Evidence is building that ride sharing services may actually be helping to reduce the rate of drunk driving arrests in some cities.
Ride sharing services, such as Uber, work by allowing you to request a private driver simply by using an app on your smartphone. The ride sharing company then dispatches the closest driver to your location and charges the credit card you have on file. The service can be cheaper than typical taxi cabs, and data is building that these services might actually help to reduce the rate of DUIs. Despite this, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently tried to put a cap on the number of Uber drivers in the city. The mayor had to backpedal after a big backlash.
So, what is the evidence supporting ride sharing services as helping to reduce DUIs? An article on the web provides more detail. Uber, in particular, has been investigating data from various cities around the US to help deduce whether drops in DUI arrests can be attributed to their service. In Los Angeles, for example, a full 20 percent of their weekend business occurs between the hours of 12 – 4 am, a time when a large portion of the population is typically at home and also the times that correlate with peak drunk-driving hours and when most arrests occur. While the connection may not be provable, it does seem plausible that greater availability of transportation can help reduce incidence of drunk driving. This correlation is in fact backed up by other research that shows that greater availability of transit options does affect peoples choices on how to get home and whether to drink and drive.
Some additional data out of Philadelphia also shows a drop in DUI arrests. In this case the drop is significantly higher for those under 30 years old who are more likely to use ride sharing apps. Again, while this does not prove the correlation, it is nonetheless interesting.
So, next time you are planning to hit the town, consider all of the options available for getting home.