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Study finds Uber doesn't reduce drunk driving fatalities

Illinois readers may be interested to learn that ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft do not reduce drunk driving fatalities, according to a study. The results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in July 2016, counter a key benefit Uber promotes about its business.

In the study, conducted by the University of Southern California and Oxford University, researchers analyzed before and after data in the 100 most populated metropolitan areas where Uber, Lyft and other competitors have started doing business. They found that ride-sharing apps had no impact on fatal crashes related to drunk driving. The study had controls in place for state laws that could reduce alcohol-related fatalities, such as alcohol taxes, marijuana legislation and texting and driving bans. Researchers also separated drunk driving deaths from weekend and holiday fatalities and found that Uber did not lower deaths in either category.

According to the authors of the study, the reason Uber may not be reducing alcohol-related deaths is that inebriated individuals might not want to pay for the service, wrongly believing their chances of getting into an accident or arrested are low. Uber has promoted a 2015 Temple University study that found a link between Uber services and a reduction in drunk driving deaths in California. A study by Providence College and Stonehill College also found a correlation between ride-sharing apps and a reduction in alcohol-related fatalities. Uber responded to the USC/Oxford study by pointing out that 80 percent of their riders claim the company has helped them avoid drinking and driving.

Illinois residents who have been arrested for drunk driving may help their situation by remaining silent and immediately retaining a criminal defense attorney. An attorney could protect a client's rights throughout the legal process and identify defense strategies that could lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source: NPR, "Uber Hasn't Had An Effect On Drunken-Driving Deaths, Study Finds," Rebecca Hersher, July 29, 2016

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