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Chicago Study: Using a Rideshare Service Can Help Prevent Drunk Driving Crashes

A man looks down at his cellphone to use a rideshare app

A Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Provides the Details

Drunk driving is against the law, and for good reason. Alcohol slows reflexes, makes it difficult to concentrate, and affects a person’s ability to judge speed, distance, and potential risks. This makes people who decide to drink and drive a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road. Yet every year, there are drunk driving crashes that leave victims with serious and sometimes fatal injuries. In fact, about 28 people die in drunk-driving crashes each day according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Over the years, there have been many campaigns designed to cut down on the number of motor vehicle crashes caused by drunk drivers. One strategy has been to encourage people to use ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft if they are going out and will be drinking alcohol.

Now, there is evidence that using ridesharing services can cut down on the overall number of alcohol-impaired crashes.

Rideshare Data Examined in Chicago 

In a Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health study, researchers examined crash statistics from November 2018 to December 2019 using the Chicago Data Portal. They looked at Chicago crashes because they had access to detailed rideshare data, including where each trip began and ended.

The researchers compared 962 alcohol-related crashes with 962 crashes that did not involve alcohol, considering factors such as density per square mile of rideshare trips.

“We found the density of active rideshare trips near a crash site was associated with decreased odds that the crash was alcohol-involved,” says Christopher Morrison, one of the study’s researchers. “These results are consistent with the suggestion that ridesharing replaces impaired-driver trips.”

Researchers found that the odds of a crash involving alcohol decreased 0.2% for every one rideshare trip per square mile. They note that the overall impacts could be substantial given the volume of rideshare trips and crashes involving alcohol in Chicago.

The study notes certain facts about ridesharing services, including:

  • These services are available in 263 cities across the country.
  • They have coordinated more than 11 billion rides since their beginning a decade ago.
  • They are an appealing option for consumers who want to avoid driving under the influence or using public transportation.

A Continuing Problem on the Road

Morrison notes that the findings support the use of ridesharing in the effort to reduce drunk driving.

“Drunk driving is devastating for the people who drive drunk and for other drivers and passengers with whom they share the road,” he said. “We can use this information to help reduce these enormous health costs.”

Meanwhile, rideshare companies themselves must be diligent in supervising their own drivers and ensuring that the drivers who get behind the wheel to pick up members of the public are fit to drive.

Unfortunately, this does not always happen, as noted for example in one California investigation related to intoxicated Uber drivers that resulted in over one million dollars in fines for Uber. Driving at night when intoxicating driving is more common poses even additional risks to passengers, pedestrians, and others on the roadway, prompting the need for extra precautions and safe driving.

A drunk driving crash can impact your life in many ways. You can be seriously injured and face medical expenses that can quickly become overwhelming. Recovering financial compensation can also be complicated, as insurance companies are financially motivated to pay crash victims as little money as possible.

Rideshare companies in particular often require injured people to sign agreements to keep the settlement results of their claims confidential and bar victims from posting disparaging remarks about the companies online.

At Keating Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys know how to build strong cases that hold negligent drivers accountable for their reckless actions. We fight back against insurance company tactics to pay you less and work for the best possible outcome to your case, whether that’s through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.

Learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.

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