Has Uber Decreased DUIs?

Uber Vs. Lyft

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The ride-sharing app, Uber, is something that many Americans are familiar with, but the details of it may still be confusing to some in the Tacoma region. At The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we want to take a closer look at how Uber is affecting communities like ours, specifically focusing on its impact on DUIs.

The Basics

Uber is a part of the growing “shared economy,” which can be described as a more mature and more extensive model of renting out personal items. For a company like Uber, people sign up to work as drivers for any paying Uber customer in the area. Anyone in need of a ride simply opens the Uber app on their smartphone and makes a request for a ride. The Uber drivers are everyday people who have their own cars and are willing to shuttle strangers to their destination for a fee.

If you’re thinking that this situation sounds a lot like a taxi service, you’ve got the right idea. There are some distinct differences, however—the biggest being that Uber does not have as many restrictions for its drivers as the taxicab industry. Although all Uber drivers are vetted through a rigorous application process, they operate much like freelancers, working only when they want to work and using their own cars and fuel to do so.

Busy Intersection 6

The Benefits

Uber has received plenty of criticism from people who are not supporters of this “shared economy”. The taxi industry, in particular, has argued that the influx of Uber drivers jeopardizes a legitimate industry.

However, there are many benefits of Uber vehicles, especially in a city like Tacoma, Washington. The convenience of hitching a ride using your smartphone is one major advantage that Uber holds over conventional taxi services. Regardless of where you’re located, you can always see if a ride is available by using the Uber app. Another benefit is that Uber drivers aren’t weighed down under quite so many regulations and restrictions as taxi cab drivers. This ultimately leads to a cheaper fare for customers and an easy way for anyone with a car to make some money.

The biggest benefit is probably that Uber seems to have decreased the number of DUIs in multiple cities around the country. As Ray Hennessey wrote in Entrepreneur, taxi cab services often have trouble operating in smaller cities, with cab drivers having trouble providing services in certain neighborhoods. There isn’t enough of a demand to provide a return on the investment. The lack of a taxi cab at 2 a.m. in a suburb of Tacoma, for example, might lead to an individual choosing to drive after having a few drinks instead of searching for other options.

Hennessy noted that one study from Temple University showed that fatalities from alcohol-related car accidents decreased in California by as much as 5.6% when Uber X services became available. It is estimated that Uber services could save as many as 500 lives every year in the U.S. if this estimated decrease is valid and if Uber services could be implemented in cities across the country.

For the community of Tacoma, Washington, Uber services could certainly provide a valuable transportation option—but at The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we understand that DUIs are still going to happen. If you’ve been charged with DUI, contact our experienced lawyers today for assistance with your case.