Drunk Driving: Jury Still Out on Whether Uber Helps

The days of calling a cab or waiting to hail one outside are diminishing with the mobile ease of ordering up an Uber or Lyft. In a world of disruptive new businesses and technology that allow consumers to take more control of the process, these new transportation startups are both a cultural phenomenon as well as a popular social trend with millennials who may just eschew buying cars and driving altogether. Not only are the humans traveling together able to rate each other, but they also seem to be able to connect more easily than in the taxicab situation, making the experience more attractive for many, and especially the younger generations.

Most taxicab drivers will relay countless stories of drunk patrons they have driven from point A to point B. As companies like Uber and Lyft are even easier to contact and pay for, those who are under the influence may call them first today if they have the good judgment to do so. That if can be a big problem with intoxicated people holding the keys to their own car though, as it presents a free ride—often causing them to take the risk in weaving their way home, fare-free.

It is obvious that there is little reason for drunk drivers to continue to plague our society today. Amidst overwhelming education about the dangers as well as dire consequences put in place by each state, drunk drivers also have every outlet to avoid driving themselves home, and often cab companies will even take them for free—especially during holidays. A recent news article, however, points out that companies like Uber and Lyft may not be lowering drunk driving statistics at all; in fact, in a study performed by Noli Brazil and David S. Kirk, outlined in ‘Uber and Metropolitan Traffic Fatalities in the United States,’ the authors make it clear that there is much progress to be made.

“Obviously the rise of Uber and Lyft has been incredible, and we were curious about potential implications,” said David Kirk, from the University of Oxford, who coauthored the study.

In the end, however, there are still not enough Ubers out there to combat the problem of drivers who insist on getting behind the wheel while under the influence, not to mention the resistance of those who are practicing poor judgment after an evening of partying.

“It will be important to revisit the findings in a few years, assuming Uber and Lyft have even greater presence in the U.S. and beyond,” said Kirk. “And if Uber and Lyft can find a way to have greater appeal to drunk drivers (free or reduced priced rides for inebriated passengers), then there is a possibility of bringing fatalities down.”

If as a culture we can change habits and get used to taking Ubers and Lyfts, it is hopeful that those who have had a few too many to drink, or are under the influence of controlled substances can be convinced to do the same.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a drunk driver, contact us now. At Heintz & Becker our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in helping DUI injury victims claim the compensation they deserve. Our firm has also handled many claims involving catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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