Uber reduces drunk driving fatalities says independent study

Dec 19 2017, 4:40 pm

An independent study done by Temple University in Philadelphia shows that the popular car service Uber X reduces alcohol-related fatalities.

The study used hand collected data from the California Highway Safety and Patrol and a webscraper that allowed them to see when Uber X entered into each market. The results showed a 3.6-5.6% decrease in deaths related to drinking and driving.

That represents around 56 people in a state that sees about 1,000 deaths per year related to alcohol consumption and operating a vehicle.


The study notes that the decrease only comes with Uber X, the more affordable service offered by Uber, and not Uber Black, which is a premium service.

“It suggests that a coupling of cost and availability is the key driving force behind the decrease in DUI related deaths, indicating that patrons are unwilling to pay a price premium for the Uber Black service, even in the short term. Economically, these results suggest an average decrease in DUIs related homicides of 3.6% in locations treated by Uber X in the state of California,” states the study, which was co-authored by Sunil Wattal and Brad N. Greenwood.

Essentially, when a cheap, convenient alternative is available, people are less likely to drink and drive.


Uber X isn’t available in Vancouver for a variety of factors, most notably because of staunch opposition from the taxi and limousine industries. The Taxi Association launched a lawsuit against the company to bar them from entering the Metro area.

They eventually dropped it, but say they will re-launch it should Uber X make another attempt to come to Vancouver.

Uber is taking over taxis in some markets, most notably in New York City, which has more than 14,000 Ubers compared to around 13,500 taxis.