An article today from the Cato Institute reaffirms what we all probably suspected; Uber helps reduce incidents of DUIs (referred to as DWI, or driving while intoxicated, in some states) and fatal vehicle crashes. This isn’t all that surprising given the fact that ridesharing companies such as Uber give people a convenient and safe way to get home after they’ve had too much to drink to drive themselves home safely. What is surprising is the impressive rate of reduction in DUI arrests that Uber claims it is responsible for.

Uber, together with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, issued a report which claims that cities with Uber have seen a decrease in DUI arrests. For example, Seattle enjoyed a 10 percent reduction in DUI arrests with the arrival of Uber. Other cities across the country have also noticed a significant reduction in DUI/DWI arrests corresponding with Uber joining their community. Additionally, the report claims that that there is a 16.6 percent decline in fatal car accidents that is associated with Uber’s continued presence in a community.

Uber doesn’t claim that their particular brand of car service is responsible for these positive changes, but rather that there is simply a strong correlation between increased transit options and a reduction in drunk driving. Nonetheless, the company has been using these statistics as a marketing platform and has dubbed the phenomenon the “Uber effect” and claims that the pattern is the same in cities where Uber operates across the country. What’s more, requests for Uber drivers peak around the time when bars close. Uber even employed a third party, the Benson Group, to survey attitudes about drunk driving and ridesharing platforms in order to distill the statics outlined below.

Statistics From Uber

  • 78 percent of respondents said that their friends are less likely to drive after drinking since Uber arrived in their city,
  • 57 percent of respondents agreed that without Uber they would likely drive after drinking more often, and
  • After hearing about Uber’s effect on drunk driving rates, 93 percent of respondents would recommend that a friend who has been drinking should take an Uber rather than driving themselves.

While these statistics indicate that people are generally willing to take an Uber, or recommend an Uber to a friend, rather than driving after drinking, drunk driving is still a huge problem across America. Uber’s report estimates that someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 53 minutes in the United States. That works out to 28 people per day.

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