Many New York residents use ride-sharing apps like Uber to get home after a night of drinking. Although a lot of people claim that Uber has prevented them from driving drunk, the introduction of the ride-sharing service may not have had any measureable effect on drunk driving fatality rates. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that alcohol-related traffic fatalities have not decreased because of Uber.
The Uber study was conducted by researchers from Oxford University and the University of Southern California. They analyzed traffic fatality data from 100 metropolitan areas with high populations and controlled the data for factors that could influence drunk driving fatality rates. After the introduction of Uber, researchers saw no noticeable change in drunk driving fatality rates that could be attributed to ride-sharing apps.
The authors of the study said that they do not believe intoxicated people who are making decisions about whether or not to drive drunk usually choose to order an Uber ride. Inebriated people may not be thinking rationally enough to choose an Uber ride over drunk driving, or they may not want to pay for a ride. In response to the study, an Uber spokeswoman said that the company’s ridership numbers peak during typical drinking hours.
Drinking and driving may not be unlawful if the driver’s blood-alcohol content is below .08 percent. A criminal defense attorney representing a person who has been charged with driving while intoxicated might be able to successful argue that the machine was not properly calibrated at the time that the test was administered.