Are Ridesharing Services Reducing Drunk Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania?

April 10, 2022

Are Ridesharing Services Reducing Drunk Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania?

One of the reasons why ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are cited as having become popular is the fact that ridesharing allows people to go out to bars or restaurants or for a night on the town without having to worry about getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. But do rideshare services actually have an effect on the rate of drunk driving accidents?


Dangers of Drunk Driving

Under Pennsylvania law, motorists are automatically considered to be drunk driving when they have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more. However, it is possible for someone to be intoxicated to the point that they cannot safely operate a vehicle, even if their BAC is below 0.08. It is also possible for someone to have a BAC over the legal limit or to be too drunk to safely drive without otherwise displaying any visible signs of intoxication. 

Some of the ways that drivers can be impaired by alcohol intoxication include:

  • Reaction times
  • Perception
  • Decision making
  • Judgment and inhibition

An intoxicated driver may be unable to safely react to an emergency on the road. Drunk drivers may also be more likely to demonstrate an inability to properly control their vehicle, including drifting out of the lane, swerving across the road, or not keeping up with the pace of traffic. Some drunk drivers may also be more inclined to engage in reckless behaviors, including excessive speeding, running red lights, tailgating, or swerving in and out of traffic. 

Efforts to Reduce Drunk Driving

For decades, state and local governments have sought to reduce the rates of drunk driving through increased law enforcement efforts. This includes deploying additional officers on patrol to look out for drivers engaging in behaviors consistent with drunk driving or setting up DUI checkpoints during holidays or after events where alcohol consumption is common. DUI laws have also been revamped to require offenders to attend programs aimed at educating them on the dangers of drunk driving or providing substance abuse treatment for individuals suffering from alcohol addiction. In recent years, there have been efforts to develop technologies that can be incorporated into all vehicles. These systems are intended to passively detect whether a driver is intoxicated as soon as they enter the vehicle or while the vehicle is driving. The systems would then prevent the vehicle from starting or take other measures to get an intoxicated driver off the road if the vehicle is already in motion.

Do Rideshare Services Reduce Drunk Driving?

While ridesharing services in theory seem like they should reduce drunk driving, various studies have found correlations between Uber and Lyft starting service in a city and a drop in the number of drunk driving accidents. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at data from Houston, Texas, and found that after Uber started serving the city, the rate of motor vehicle accident injuries decreased by nearly a quarter on Friday and Saturday nights, while there was also a significant reduction in the number of drunk driving convictions. However, another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no significant association between ridesharing services and the rate of drunk driving fatalities.

Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Drunk Driving Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a drunk driving accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of drunk driving accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Home visits can be arranged in certain situations. 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.