Technology is changing the way that we do pretty much everything. Since the advent of the smartphone, people have been using their phones to do more and more things. Channel 2 News conducted an investigation into the reasons that Georgia has seen a drop in the number of DUI arrests in recent years. According to Channel 2, “Georgia police made nearly 50,000 fewer DUI arrests last year than in 2008.” Though the news network placed greater weight on the reduction in the number of police officers patrolling the streets as the main reason for the lower DUI arrest rate, the investigation also suggested that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft could be a contributing factor.
Ride-sharing has become an increasingly popular way for people to get around and Uber and Lyft are two of the biggest companies offering this service. Uber was founded in 2009 and Lyft in 2012. Both companies operate by having riders download the company's smartphone app in order to request a ride. Channel 2 reports that “Tens of thousands of Georgians have downloaded apps for the two. Ridership is huge, especially among younger riders who know they'll be partying.”
The New York Times also took a look at whether ride-sharing was factoring into reduced DUI rates. The Times article focused on Uber in addressing this issue and looked at a number of different studies. One such study from City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center found that “in four boroughs of New York City, excluding Staten Island, there has been a 25 to 35 percent reduction in alcohol-related car accidents since Uber came to town in 2011, as compared to other places where ride-hailing company doesn't operate.” Jessica Lynn Peck, the doctoral candidate who conducted the study, stated that "We need more evidence, but the trend seems to be pointing toward ridesharing reducing drunk driving incidents.” This is not the only study to reach this conclusion. Reports from Temple University and West Carolina University, have “noted a correlation between Uber services and lower rates of alcohol-related accidents.” Uber also did its own study, which found similar results.
However, this conclusion is not unanimous. The New York Times reports that a study out of the University of Southern California, "looked at 100 densely populated counties across the United States and found no correlation between the rollout of Uber services and the number of traffic fatalities.” The professor who conducted the study, Noli Brazil, pointed out that there was a number of factors that could affect DUI rates and stated that, “‘In order to explain our results, we pointed out the fact that the proportion of individuals who use Uber is quite small relative to the number of drivers in a given county.'” Similar to Peck, Brazil believes that more evidence is needed, but he stated that it's too early to reach conclusions about the app and thinks that more users need to be using the service first.
Whether or not Uber and Lyft are reducing DUI rates or preventing accidents remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the companies do offer those who have been out drinking an alternative to getting behind the wheel so as to ensure that they won't face a DUI charge. However, people make mistakes and sometimes get behind the wheel when ordering a ride would be a better choice. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you want a knowledgeable and experienced DeKalb County DUI attorney, like Richard Lawson, on your side. Contact his office today to discuss your case.