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More Evidence Uber Reduces Drunk Driving Fatalities

Both Paul Best and I have written about early evidence matching intuition: that the presence of an easier way to summon a ride home at the end of a night of drinking could have positive effects in diminishing drunk driving.

A new study from Brad N. Greenwood and Sunil Wattal of Temple University's Fox School of Business, looking at California cities, has more evidence for that intuition's validity, and the idea that price sensitivity is at play in people's decisions to not drunk-drive:

Results indicate four notable findings. First, while the entry of Uber X strongly and negatively affects the number of motor vehicle homicides which occur, limited evidence exists to support previous claims that this occurs with the [more expensive] Uber Black car service as well....Second, results indicate that the time for such effects to manifest is non-trivial (upwards of 9 – 15 months). Third, results suggest no effect of Uber when surge pricing is likely in effect, thereby underscoring the importance of cost considerations. Fourth, results indicate no negative effect of Uber entry on the rate of non-alcohol related motor vehicle fatalities (suggesting that the potential spike in automobiles on the road is not negatively affecting other drivers).

And the numbers:

results indicate that the entrance of Uber X results in a 3.6% – 5.6% decrease in the rate of motor vehicle homicides per quarter in the state of California. With more than 1000 deaths occurring in California due to alcohol related car crashes every year, this represents a substantial opportunity to improve public welfare and save lives.

The authors use death data, not all accident data, mostly because "there is a significant delay in the aggregation of data which does not involve significant injury. At the time of data collection, non-injury collision data were available only through October 2013 (thereby dramatically limiting the variability in the entry of Uber services and the duration of treatment)."

Deaths are also, of course, a more gripping measure than mere accidents or stops related to drunk driving.

Regulators and entrenched transpo interests can be expected to continue to try to stop or stymie these life-saving services. Feel free to accuse them of having blood on their hands as they do.

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  • Mr. Flanders||

    I've been looking for an excuse to tell someone they have blood on their hands...

  • ||

    Uber Can Actually Make It Easier For People To Ride Public Transit

    Alyssa Walker REALLY doesn't want to like Uber, but is finding that ride--sharing makes using public transit easier for people who don't live right next to major transit hubs.

    I've found this true in LA. When I know I'm going drinking downtown or something, I'm more likely to hitch a Lyft to the transit stop, take a bus into DTLA, get my booze on and then reverse it. Even with the Lyft it's cheaper than gas + parking in the city and I can drink more without worrying about getting home.

  • Antilles||

    Just be careful about getting caught for being drunk in public. The penalties for that can be nearly as painful and expensive as getting caught driving while drunk.

  • ||

    Duly noted.

  • Hugh Akston||

    No liquor stores in mb?

  • Antilles||

    Does 'mb' happen to stand for Manhattan Beach? If so, then the answer is yes. Most beach cities in Southern California are lousy with hole-in-the-wall liquor stores. God bless 'em!

  • ||

    It is, and he knows. He's just needling. He's also an LA local.

  • SantaClausius||

    ...what ever happened to no life east of Sepulveda?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Those are all over LA. Which is why I don't understand why he'd schlep all the way downtown to drink when he could just drink alone in his apartment with the lights off and a Law & Order marathon playing.

  • ||

    That. Ass. Hugh.

  • Just say Nikki||

    Plus you can do even better things than drinking at home. Way better.

  • Los Doyers||

    Like socializing with other people!

  • Just say Nikki||

    No, you fool. At home, you can do things better than drinking.

  • Los Doyers||

    Thanks for the emphasis on *drinking.* DOUCHE.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Pretty sure jesse can do that while drinking. He only needs one hand for the bottle.

  • Just say Nikki||

    Y'all all need more drugs.

  • ||

    something something entitlement and GHB something something.

  • ||

    Sometimes you're meeting H&Rers; downtown for oysters and drinks and don't want to find parking, Hugh.

  • Hugh Akston||

    THERE IS NO PARKING DOWNTOWN GODDAMMIT

  • Los Doyers||

    Parking garages, brah. I never pay more than $8.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah except they all close at 7.

  • Los Doyers||

    Nope, the garage on Main between 4th and 3rd is open 24/7.
    TRY AGAIN.

  • ||

    Tell him about that time we had no problem getting your car out of that one lot in the wee hours...

  • Los Doyers||

    Oh, yeah, that was a fucking fail. Apparently we were both to drunk to notice the note on the windshield saying where to pick up the keys, so I thought I'd have to come get my car the next day when they were open. We then attempted public transit back to MB and got stuck on some bullshit shuttle through the mexi-ghetto because of Green Line construction. Added some 2 hours to our ride home. The end.

  • Los Doyers||

    The drinking part before was fun, now we just know to CHECK THE WINDSHIELD.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Right, see, this is what I'm talking about. That never happens when you're home alone with a bottle and a full DVR and a pile of pizza rolls.

  • Los Doyers||

    A bottle of?...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Colt .45 presumably. Night Train if it's jesse's birthday.

  • Los Doyers||

    and two zig zags? Baby that's all we need.

  • Antilles||

    All the more reason to ban Uber! Especially in California where 20% of the nation's DUIs occur. Just think of negative financial impact on the police, prosecutors, lawyers, judges, and prison guards--that's what really matters! Good thing they're also pushing to lower the BAC to .05%. Those numbers will be back up to acceptable levels in no time.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Heck, if the higher and higher courts okay the needle-jabbing, 30 mL of intravenous Evercleer will probably make those breathalyzer tests read just like the po-lice intended them to in no time flat. They could even charge mohammedans, taxi drivers, police union representatives, you-name-it with drunk driving, and make it stick. Uber'd start looking good real quick.

  • SusanM||

    Nice to see that studies are now reliable again ;)

  • Mr. Flanders||

    Its been a rough 5 hours, feeling alone without studies to guide me. Looks like we're back on track again though.

  • SusanM||

    You're not kidding! I was afraid I'd have to return to by old stand-bys of booze and porn to get me through life.

  • ||

    That there is some impeccable snark.

  • SusanM||

    Oh, come on. 'Tis mere amateur scribblings in comparison to the snark-singularity at H&R.

  • Brian||

    I was actually just thinking that I'd like to read their methodology for estimating the Uber effect.

    Still, it's interesting. People will rave and scream about an underfunded FDA if someone gets sick from uncooked food, but they won't bother measuring how jacked up taxi cab fares and limited availability impact drunk drivers. I assume because it doesn't fit well into a nearly century old narrative about evil corporate players and whatnot.

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