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Drunk Driving Is Down in California

A recent study at Temple University, jointly funded by Uber and MADD, has found that drunk driving fatalities are on the decline in California, and at least a part of the reason is clearly traceable to increased use of car-sharing services. The widespread introduction of services like Uber and Lyft into California cities was shown to yield a decease of 3.6% to 5.6% of DUI-related deaths within nine months’ time. As the study investigated over 12,000 DUI accidents across 5 years and in 540 different California townships, there is good reason to trust its results.

Drunk Driving Down in California | Los Angeles DUI lawyer

California was a uniquely appropriate place to conduct the Temple survey since it has been particularly saturated by Uber since its initial roll-out in 2012. Ride-share companies, for example, have especially permeated San Francisco, and that city saw only two DUI arrests on New Years’ Eve of 2015, which was the lowest since 2009. It is clear that Uber and similar services are driving down not only alcohol-related car collisions but drunk driving in general as well.

How Car-Sharing Services Drive Down DUIs

To expose clearly how car-sharing causes DUIs to decline, we can first consider two alternatives that did not fare well in the study done at Temple. First, taxi services were not found to be nearly as effective at curtailing drunk driving. This seems to be due to the difficulty in finding a taxi quickly at times and to the occasionally exorbitant rates that they charge. Next, Uber Black, the luxury-level of Uber, fared poorly in the study. This was apparently due to its being out of the price range of most. Thus, easy and constant availability along with low prices make car-sharing a practical option and discourage people driving after drinking.

The greater effectiveness of car-sharing over taxis in lowering DUIs makes it alarming that some cities, like Chicago, are attempting to regulate such services out of business in their areas. This stems from the misguided notion that these services are generally unsafe. However, there is no convincing evidence to date that Uber rides have higher accident rates, whether alcohol-related or not.

Implications of Car-Sharing’s Success

The prevalence of WiFi-connected cell phones and the proven ability of the car-sharing industry to quickly expand into new areas means that its benefits can rapidly spread to every locality in the U.S. and be at everyone’s fingertips 24/7.

This leads to the conclusion that bars and alcohol-serving restaurants should consider connecting with Uber or a similar company in the interests of keeping their clients and others on the road safe. There may even come a time when liability will apply to those businesses that fail do offer this kind of service just as now over-serving customers and letting them leave in their own vehicles can incur liability.

Another implication of the success of Uber in California is the possibility of reducing drunk-driving deaths nationwide. Over 13,000 such fatalities occur every year, and if car-sharing were more widely available, it could save 500 or more lives and over a billion dollars annually.

Car-sharing services in California and nationwide can greatly reduce the incidence of DUIs and related accidents. If, however, you do find yourself charged with a DUI, do not hesitate to contact an experienced DUI attorney to assist you in court.

Arrested for DUI? Contact Los Angeles DUI lawyer Jon Artz today.

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