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Uber use may not reduce the number of drunk drivers, study says

The ride-sharing company Uber is gaining popularity in California and nationwide. Those without cars find it useful to run errands or go out on the town. One thing that Uber claims is that its services have decreased the number of drunk drivers on the road, as those too intoxicated to drive are choosing to use Uber's services rather than drive home drunk.

However, a recent study reportedly refutes this argument, finding that the use of Uber drivers has not necessarily cut back on drunk driving. Research conducted by the University of Southern California and Oxford University has reported that ride-sharing services, such as Uber, have not had any noticeable effect on drunk driving fatalities on weekends and holidays.

There may be a number of reasons why the use of Uber may not have cut back on drunk driving. One is that there simply isn't enough ride-share motorists, such as Uber drivers, on the roads right now to affect the drunk driving rates. In addition, it may be the case that those individuals who are hailing Uber to get home after drinking alcohol, simply would've previously used a taxi to get home. Moreover, people who are intoxicated may misjudge their ability to safely drive, may feel that the odds of being caught drunk driving are low or simply don't want to pay the money for an Uber driver, so instead they choose to drive drunk.

Uber has countered this with other research that supports its claim that ride-sharing reduces drunk driving. One paper reports that the number of DUIs studied went down 62 percent. Uber also contends that according to other surveys, 80 percent of Uber riders reported that Uber kept them from drunk driving, and that Uber's services are mostly used at times when people are drinking at bars and parties.

In the end, it remains to be seen how ride-sharing services such as Uber will affect the rates of drunk driving accidents. However, it is good to know that there is another alternative out there besides a designated driver or taxi cab for intoxicated individuals to use to get home rather than drunk driving. Nevertheless, drunk driving accidents will still occur. Victims of drunk driving accidents may want to research whether they are able to pursue compensation against the drunk driver for the damages they suffered.

Source: The Washington Post, "Is Uber reducing drunk driving? New study says no.," Fredrick Kunkle, July 27, 2016

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