Is Uber Actually Reducing DUI’s in LA?

Uber is one of the most popular apps when it comes to ride-sharing. The service provides a mode of transportation to individuals in need of a ride at any hour. Recently, there have been differing opinions on how much the app actually reduces accidents and charges related to drunk driving.

Is Uber Reducing DUI’s in LA?

The period between 2012 to 2013 saw a 10 percent increase in the number of people arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles County. One year later, there was a 14 percent drop in the number of DUI arrests. One reason for the drop was thought to be increased reliance on Uber, and similar services like Lyft and Sidecar.

A 2016 paper by Angela Dills and Sean Mulholland from Western Carolina University concluded that Uber lowered the rate of DUIs and fatal vehicle crashes from 2010-2013. This was not considered surprising since the service offers a convenient way for intoxicated individuals to get a sober ride home.

The ability of the app to reduce drunk driving has been one of the company’s strongest talking points over the past few years. In fact, Uber has even teamed up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving for various initiatives.

But the correlation between reduced DUI’s and Uber is still up for debate. A 2016 study by researchers from Oxford University and the University of Southern California found that ride-sharing had no effect on drinking-related, holiday-related, or weekend-related fatalities. The authors say this may be attributed to the fact that the number of drunk drivers is so high, there may not be enough Uber cars available to alter the statistics. The study also suggested that intoxicated individuals who now call Uber are the ones who called a taxi service in the past.

Uber contends that at least 80 percent of its riders have said the service has helped them avoid driving under the influence, and that peak usage occurs during barhopping and partying hours.

Alternatives to Drinking and Driving

In 2013, 35 percent of California drivers who died in car crashes were over the alcohol limit. Whether or not Uber actually reduces the occurrences of DUI’s, one thing is certain – drinking and driving do not go together. Don’t risk your life by drinking and driving. Use Uber or one of the following methods as an alternative:

  • If you are going out with friends, assign a designated driver to get everyone home safely.
  • Call a traditional taxi service.
  • Call a friend who lives nearby to give you a ride home.
  • Sleep on a friend’s couch.
  • If you are planning to have a few drinks later in the night and will need a ride home, research free rides by local organizations, nonprofits, and even beer companies.
  • Ask a policeman for a ride home. Depending on where you live, it is department policy to provide it.

Getting into a vehicle when you are intoxicated puts everyone’s life in danger. If caught, you may be placed in jail, your license may be taken away, and your insurance rates will skyrocket.