Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have exploded in growth over the past few years, giving mass transit and taxis a run for their money as a preferred method of local travel. Proponents of rideshares often point to their safety – keeping drunk or impaired drivers off the road. However, are there any hard numbers that show Uber and Lyft have had a real effect on preventing accidents?
A collaborative study between researchers from the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States found the deployment of Uber across Great Britain was associated with a nine percent decline in serious motor vehicle accident injuries. By serious injuries, they mean things like broken bones or traumatic brain injuries. However, it didn’t cut down on the number of serious accidents.
Professor David Kirk, from the University of Oxford’s Department of Sociology and Nuffield College, explained it this way:
Ride-hailing is a private sector intervention that may have transformative potential to change the nature of road safety worldwide, yet there has been relatively little research on the potentially beneficial and detrimental effects of ride-hailing for public safety. Our study presents the very first findings of the association between the deployment of Uber and road accident injuries in the UK, thereby adding much needed research to the public debate about the safety of ride-hailing.
Although this research was focused in the UK, it provides insights that can be useful worldwide, including here in South Carolina.
Interpreting the report
According to the study, traffic accident injuries and fatalities in the UK have been declining since the 1960s, as a result of increased initiatives to improve road safety and cut down on drinking and driving. However, serious motor vehicle accident injuries spiked almost 12 percent between 2014 and 2018.
Kirk theorized about the nine percent decline after the rollout of Uber, saying, “One interpretation for the decline in serious road injuries is that Uber may be a substitute form of transportation for risky drivers, including drink-drivers. However, ride-hailing is also a substitute for public transit, particularly buses, thereby increasing traffic congestion.”
So, as Arianne Cohen at Fast Company points out, the research is a bit of a “mixed bag.” With the advent of Uber, the number of serious accidents and fatalities did not change. More people taking Uber means more wheels on the road – meaning more chances for minor car accidents. However, the study did find that serious traffic accident injuries decreased by nine percent.
The Uber and Lyft accident attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC can protect your right to compensation if you were injured in a crash. Let our years of experience provide you with knowledgeable and strategic guidance. Call us at 803-327-7800 or reach out to us through our contact page. We maintain offices throughout South Carolina.