Are Ridesharing Services Reducing DUIs?

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By the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Knox Law Center in Charlotte & Lake Norman

The debate over the pros and cons of ridesharing services such as Lyft and Uber have raged since their inception in 2009. But recent data hints at a benefit that, if true, implies ridesharing services reducing DUIs: Ridesharing services might contribute to a decrease in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests.

The Perelman Study

A 2017 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania[1] found that ride-sharing services have reduced the number of drunk-driving crashes in certain cities. The study examined state Department of Transportation statistics from Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, Portland Oregon, and San Antonio, Texas, all of which are cities where Uber has started, stopped, and then resumed offering their services.

The investigators found that in Portland and San Antonio, alcohol-related crashes decreased after Uber resumed its services.  In Las Vegas and Reno, however, there was no evidence of fewer crashes or few serious accidents. The researchers suggest that the differences in the results might have more to do with the characteristics and conditions of the cities.  In these tourist-rich Nevada towns, for example, people may be more likely to use taxis, go on foot, or use ride-sharing apps since they don’t usually have their own cars with them.

Other studies[2] have indicated significant decreases in DUI arrests in several California cities in the two years following the initiation of ridesharing services. San Diego saw a 32 percent decrease of arrests; San Jose had a 28 percent drop; 26 percent in Sacramento and 14 percent in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland area.

Self-Surveyed Alcohol Drinkers Agree

Moreover, from the perspective of alcohol consumers, there’s some evidence that ride-sharing has prevented them from getting behind the wheel while under the influence. A 2019 survey by RideGuru[3] found that a whopping 63 percent of respondents said that ridesharing had likely stopped them from drunk driving.

While none of this is slam-dunk evidence that ridesharing definitively reduces DUIs or drunk-driving deaths, these promising statistics have led the ridesharing service Uber to partner with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to bring drunk-driving deaths down to zero. The campaign, initiated in 2018, intends to “eliminate any excuse for drinking and driving.”[4]

Legal Defense For DWI Charges

As DUI defense attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina, we applaud any efforts to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents and DUI arrests. Charlotte offers a variety of rideshare, taxi and limo services. If you’ve had a fun, boozy night out, don’t hesitate to contact any one of these to get home safely. But you do find yourself facing DUI charges in the Charlotte area, call us to receive the dedicated legal support you need.

[1] https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2017/october/impacts-of-ride-hailing-on-crashes-differ-from-city-to-city

[2] https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/10/drunk-driving-arrests-decline-in-some-cities/

[3] https://ride.guru/content/newsroom/does-uber-really-prevent-drunk-driving

[4] https://www.uber.com/newsroom/reasons-to-ride/


The attorneys at Knox Law Center have been providing effective criminal defense services for decades in Mecklenburg & Lincoln county, including greater Charlotte, NC. Our attorneys can help navigate the confusing and expensive process of clearing charges from individual’s records, reinstating their full rights and generally helping to put DWI criminal charges behind them. Give our Charlotte DWI criminal defense lawyers a call today to learn more about your options.

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