The number of arrests for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol has gone down in several major American cities in the last few years, and a law firm notes that the drop correlates with the arrival of ridesharing services.
It’s not clear whether other factors, such as changes in policing, laws, or population might be contributing. But the firm shows a consistent relationship between ridesharing and the decline in DUI arrests in 10 cities it looked at where services such as Uber and Lyft have launched.
The firm, a national personal injury firm called Moll Law Group, focused on cities where Uber has launched, and looked at the average of the number of DUIs in the two years before the service started, and compared that to the number of DUIs after.
In some cities, the drops have been pretty dramatic.
In Las Vegas, DUIs have declined steadily, from 5,217 two years before Uber in 2013 to 3,056 in 2016, a year after Uber began serving the city. The drop from the two years before Uber was 37 percent. In San Diego, there were more than 3,600 DUI arrests the year before Uber started and fewer than 2,200 in 2015.
A couple of other big drops in DUI arrests happened over the same period in Chicago and Denver, which both had about an 18 percent drop from before Uber, and Philadelphia, which has also seen DUIs drop by nearly 20 percent since before ridesharing.
The drops don’t always correlate perfectly, time-wise, which may indicate more is at work. For example, DUI arrests were pretty steady in Los Angeles from 2010 to 2014, even going up a little bit after Uber began operating there in 2012. But DUI arrests plummeted in 2016, when there were just 4,635, nearly half what they were in 2013, when they were well over 8,000.
In many cities, at least some would-be drunk drivers may have changed from taking taxis to taking Uber or Lyft, so it’s hard to know if the rideshares are actually causing the reduced drunk driving. But the correlations are, in the cities examined by the law firm, overall fairly strong.
Uber has partnered with MADD to promote ridesharing as an alternative to driving drunk. The company released a survey in 2014 in which 57 percent of people who use ridesharing services like Uber said that without it they’d probably drive after drinking more often.