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Research reveals a mixed verdict on rideshare safety

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

A recent study on traffic safety has resulted in one of those good news/bad news situations. Let’s look first at the good news: ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have helped reduce the number of drunk driving crashes. People have come to realize that they are safer hailing an Uber than they are getting behind the wheel of their car when impaired.

Unfortunately, the researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health determined that ride-hailing services offset the reduction in drunk driving crashes with an increase in wrecks that result in injuries to both motorists and pedestrians.

Their study was published in the journal Injury Prevention.

It should be noted that motor vehicle crashes result in approximately 1.3 million fatalities annually around the world, including about 33,000 per year here in the U.S. A recent article on the new study also pointed out about 2.3 million people suffer injuries in vehicle crashes each year in the U.S.

Since ridesharing services were launched a decade ago, Uber and Lyft (and others) have provided about 11 billion rides. Researchers analyzed data from 372 million trips in New York City in 2017 and 2018. They determined where in the city crashes occurred and then calculated the number of rideshare trips that originated nearby at the same time as each accident. They then compared that data to the number of rideshare trips a week before each crash and a weak after, dividing the crashes by injuries to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

They then went through the same process for taxi rides.

According to a news article on the study, “(t)he results demonstrated that increases in ride-hailing were linked to the rise in crashes in which motorists and pedestrians were injured.”

The first author on the research said that while ridesharing reduces alcohol-involved car accidents, there has been no overall decrease in overall in motor vehicle wrecks. “These findings help explain why that might be — because the reductions in alcohol-related crashes are off-set by increases in other types of crashes.”

If you have been harmed in a Lowell crash caused by rideshare driver or by someone who was impaired, contact an attorney experienced in protecting clients in personal injury litigation and negotiation.