You’ve probably heard of Uber by now. It’s like a taxi service except it’s way more expensive and it’s all over America. Despite their claims that their ubiquitous service is helping to reduce drunk driving deaths, all evidence indicates otherwise. Like most things in life, Uber looks to be a big overpriced load of nothing.
A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has produced the damning results: so-called “ridesharing services” like Uber and Lyft do nothing to reduce America’s overall rate of drunk driving deaths. And a key reason for that is that drunk people simply don’t want to pay the exorbitant cost of a ride.
“Uber has had a phenomenal rise,” said David Kirk of the University of Oxford. “And this was screaming for some solid research.”
The study examined traffic fatalities in the hundred most populated metropolitan zones in the US between 2014 and 2009, around the time ridesharing services were introduced. They also studied traffic patterns during holidays, weekends and ordinary days.
They accounted for as many differences as possible across states that could impact road safety, such as texting bans, beer taxes, the legality of pot and the availability of regular taxis.
“Ultimately the finding was that there was no association – no positive effect or negative effect,” said David Kirk.
However, it may not be all doom and gloom for the up-and-coming ridesharing superstar. There is plenty of evidence, however anecdotal it may be, that suggests that groups of drinkers on a night out have used Uber to avoid drunk driving. Despite his findings, David Kirk has hope that ridesharing services will indeed help drinkers on a night out make better choices once said services become more widely available. But they might need to take a look at their prices first, because the fact remains that the drunker you are, the less appealing the cost of that ride becomes.