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Studies disagree on Uber's effect against drunk driving

When California drivers go out for a night on the town, many use Uber or Lyft to keep themselves from driving drunk. However, numerous studies disagree about whether or not ride-sharing services can take credit for lowering drunk driving rates.

As the New York Times explains, a study of four New York boroughs found that there were 25 to 35 percent fewer alcohol-related accidents since 2011, when Uber came to town, compared to areas that do not have ride-sharing available. The independent study means that there were about 40 fewer collisions caused by drunk driving, which adds up. However, other studies have had less stunning results. Some scientists warn against making broad assumptions based on correlations in one study, which is a striking difference between a 2015 study commisioned by Uber and several independent studies, regardless of their results.

According to Fortune, a study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found no association between alcohol-related accidents decreasing when they compared the 100 largest metro areas' traffic data. Researchers looked at the weekend and holiday crash data before and after ride-sharing services came to an area and did not find any noticeable decrease. This could be due to cab riders switching to Uber and Lyft, or it could be that there are not enough drivers to fill a demand for riders.

However, this contradicts the study Uber commissioned with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2015, which found that California had 60 fewer drunk-driving crashes per month for drivers aged 30 or younger after the introduction of UberX. Uber says they helped to prevent 1,800 crashes in the Golden State since 2012.

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