The availability of ride sharing apps is proving to be a major factor in a reduction in DUIs, especially among drivers under the age of 30.
The rise of app-based taxi services is leading to a drop in DUI arrests are more people decide to leave their car keys at home and instead take their cellphone to rely on they journey back.
The fall in drink-driving convictions has been so dramatic that some experts are predicting that DUI’s could become a thing of the past as access to taxi and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft via smartphones become increasingly popular.
In the most stark evidence, police in San Francisco reported just two drink driving arrests for New Years Eve 2014 – their lowest level since 2009.
Observers say other factors may also be contributing to the decline, but add that people are less likely to drive home drunk if they have more transport options.
This new data corroborates evidence found by a study by Temple University that explicity shows how the introduction of Uber’s low-cost service, UberX has reduced drunk driving deaths all over California.
Analysis reveals an average 10 percent decrease in DUI arrests in Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco after the car sharing apps were introduced.
The reports authors concluded that cheap taxi-like options make it easier for people to make safer decisions and request a taxi through Uber or Lyft rather than driving home themselves…
Last summer, blogger Nate Good, a chief technology officer of a Pittsburgh event ticketing company, analyzed data from Philadelphia’s Uniform Crime Reporting system.
He found the average number of DUIs per month in Philadelphia decreased by 11 percent between April and December, 2013.
The number of DUIs among drivers under the age of 30 saw an even higher decrease of 18.5 percent, according to his blog post.
Good, a self-described ‘proponent of ride sharing services’, noted that the decrease in DUIs coincided with the launch of Uber Black, Side Car and Uber X.
However he added as a disclaimer: ‘As the famous adage goes, correlation does not equate to causation. There can always be other things in play here that are affecting these DUI trends.’
Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett backed the findings, saying a reduction in drunk driving in American cities is an unintended but welcome benefit of the company’s services.
‘Uber started really just to connect riders and drivers. A byproduct of that, as we’ve seen, are these incredible social and economic impacts that we’re seeing in different cities,’ he said,
‘It’s a very seamless and convenient way to get transportation on demand. You don’t have to go stand on a corner at two in the morning waiting for a taxi and fumbling around for cash.’
Uber released its own analysis of local crime data in May 2014 showing a 10 percent reduction in DUI rates since Uber entered the Seattle market.
‘While there is plenty of room to explore this topic in future studies,’ Uber wrote, ‘the data confirms the intuitive claim, backed up by countless anecdotes, that potential drunk drivers will choose other options, like rides with Uber, when they are convenient, affordable, and readily available.’