This weekend, after boozy Super Bowl parties, people will have more options to get home safely because of rideshare companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.
A new report issued by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving shows that booming ridesharing services are not just convenient and affordable — they are lifesavers. Opponents of ridesharing will now have a more difficult time claiming that it puts the public at risk.
Ridesharing saves lives because people use it as a designated driver (drivers who partner with the companies are held to strict zero-tolerance alcohol policies) instead of trying to drive themselves home after they have had too much to drink. As the report states, “when people have more options, they make better, safer choices.” In a survey of 807 individuals conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, 88 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “Uber has made it easier for me to avoid driving home when I’ve had too much to drink,” and 78 percent said Uber has made it less likely that their friends drive after drinking.
The survey results are supported by other data. Uber’s entry into Seattle was associated with a 10 percent decrease in drunk driving arrests. Controlling for outside factors, after uberX launched in cities across California, monthly alcohol-related crashes decreased by 6.5 percent among drivers under 30 (59 fewer crashes per month). This decline was not observed in California markets without uberX. When drunk driving decreases, it benefits everyone who shares the road.
The report shows that demand for Uber rides peaks right around bar close, the same time drunk driving accidents reach their highest levels. To ensure that everyone has access to a safe trip home, rideshare companies use dynamic pricing to better match the supply of drivers with the demand for rides. Though many detest this business model, which increases prices when demand exceeds supply, it is crucial to enticing more drivers to get out on the road during times of high demand.