A few years ago, applications like Uber and Lyft made their way onto the scene, touting safe, affordable transportation. Notably, they were often hailed as an alternative to drunk driving — or needing a designated driver.
Recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a reduction in drunk driving conviction rates and in traffic-related trauma cases since Uber began to function in Houston.
From Texas car accident attorney Stephen Stewart, here’s what to make of the study.
What does the study say?
The 2021 McGovern Medical School at UTHealth study confirms that rideshare apps offer transportation to reduce the risk of drunk driving crashes — particularly involving younger drivers. The study revealed the highest reduction of accidents among drivers aged 30 and younger.
Researchers for the study reviewed trauma cases at two centers in Houston over a period of 12 years, drunk driving convictions in Harris County for the past 11 years, dividing up the information before Uber was introduced in Houston (January 2014) and after.
Some of the important findings included:
- Motor vehicle crash traumas decreased 38.9% in the under 30 age group during this time;
- Before Uber was introduced, most drunk driving convictions occurred within the Houston metro area — afterwards, most occurred outside the metro area;
- Starting in February 2014, drunk driving convictions generally trended downward.
- Impaired driving convictions trended downward annually beginning in February 2014.
- Drunk driving convictions for offenses on weekend nights also dropped after the introduction of Uber.
What does this mean for drunk driving accidents moving forward?
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the famous nonprofit organization founded in 1980 working to end drunk driving and support the victims of drugging, anticipated the results of this study.
As an organization that has helped to save more than 400,000 lives and reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver, they were certain that easier access to affordable transportation would lead to fewer drunk driving accidents on the whole.
MADD has partnered with Uber since 2014 to educate the public about safe and convenient options for sober rides home.
Now they have the data to prove that Uber was successful in the fight against drunk driving in the largest city in Texas — and the 4th largest city in the U.S.
Hopefully, these trends will continue nationwide, leading to fewer drunk driving accidents (and convictions).
However, there are still plenty of drivers who fail to use Uber and Lyft and instead drive irresponsibly. If you have been injured in an accident with a drunk driver in the state of Texas, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
Drunk drivers face more than just criminal liability – they can be held civilly liable as well. The law allows for drunk driving victims to seek compensation for their damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and more. Get in touch with a Texas car accident attorney to learn more.
Contact the Stewart Law Firm if you’ve been the victim in a drunk driving accident
At The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC, we are here to help you pursue justice if a drunk driver has injured you or a loved one. When we take on a case, we investigate every aspect and fully commit ourselves to helping you seek compensation for your losses. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, we do not charge fees unless we win your case. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.