Uber reduces drunk driving fatalities says independent study

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MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN / Shutterstock.com

An independent study done by Temple University in Philadelphia shows that the popular car service Uber X reduces alcohol-related fatalities.

The study used hand collected data from the California Highway Safety and Patrol and a webscraper that allowed them to see when Uber X entered into each market. The results showed a 3.6-5.6% decrease in deaths related to drinking and driving.

That represents around 56 people in a state that sees about 1,000 deaths per year related to alcohol consumption and operating a vehicle.

Taxi Cab / Shutterstock

SEE ALSO: Cab company threatens to fire drivers who sign up for Uber

The study notes that the decrease only comes with Uber X, the more affordable service offered by Uber, and not Uber Black, which is a premium service.

“It suggests that a coupling of cost and availability is the key driving force behind the decrease in DUI related deaths, indicating that patrons are unwilling to pay a price premium for the Uber Black service, even in the short term. Economically, these results suggest an average decrease in DUIs related homicides of 3.6% in locations treated by Uber X in the state of California,” states the study, which was co-authored by Sunil Wattal and Brad N. Greenwood.

Essentially, when a cheap, convenient alternative is available, people are less likely to drink and drive.

Image: Uber via Shutterstock

SEE ALSO: Vancouver taxi companies drop lawsuit against Uber

Uber X isn’t available in Vancouver for a variety of factors, most notably because of staunch opposition from the taxi and limousine industries. The Taxi Association launched a lawsuit against the company to bar them from entering the Metro area.

They eventually dropped it, but say they will re-launch it should Uber X make another attempt to come to Vancouver.

Uber is taking over taxis in some markets, most notably in New York City, which has more than 14,000 Ubers compared to around 13,500 taxis. 

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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