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On Uber and DWI

This was from a few weeks ago, and I just hadn’t gotten around to finishing the draft post I’d started till now.

Uber

The entrance of app-based transportation companies in American cities decreases the likelihood that people living there drive drunk, according to a survey commissioned by car-for-hire firm Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The entities didn’t release city-by-city results of the survey (sorry, no Dallas-specific info) and it’s based on online interviews, not crash or arrest data (though the company did look at such information in California).

But an overwhelming number of respondents said Uber has made it easier to avoid drunk driving and that their friends were less likely to drive drunk after the company set up shop in their city.

A report about that survey included data that Uber looked at in particular cities. Again, Dallas wasn’t one, but if you’ve ever talked to an app-based car-for-hire driver in North Texas, you’ll have heard anecdotes that align with what Uber saw elsewhere.

[…]

MADD president Colleen Sheehey-Church said the fact that there was a measurable drop in alcohol-related crashes in California shows that app-based car services have a positive impact.

“It demonstrates that when people have access to safe, reliable alternatives to driving, they make the right choice,” she said.

You can see the report on Uber’s blog and also on MADD’s media center. It’s in both of those organizations’ best interests to tout something like this, but it also makes intuitive sense. If it’s easy and (modulo surge pricing relatively inexpensive to catch a ride for a night out rather than drive yourself, some people will do that. I’ve also maintained that the widespread availability of services like Uber will make it easier for people to adopt a lifestyle that doesn’t require one car for every driving-age person in a household. These are good things, and worth keeping in mind when we hear another annoying story about Uber.

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