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Providence College Professor’s Study Finds Ride-Sharing Saves Lives, Reduces DUI

Also finds decline in arrests, disorderly conduct and assaults

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Providence College Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Angela Dills has co-authored a report that finds ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft lower the rate of fatal accidents, DUI arrests, disorderly conduct and assaults. The report says that the public safety benefits of ride-sharing services are also helping those demographics most likely to be involved in these potential traffic tragedies – Smartphone users aged 25 – 44 who are also Uber’s primary users.

Dr. Dills paper, “Ride-Sharing, Fatal Crashes, and Crime,” which was co-written with Dr. Sean E. Mulholland of Stonehill College, looked at a unique panel of over 150 cities and counties from 2010 to 2013, and whether the introduction of the ride-sharing service Uber was associated with changes in fatal vehicle crashes and crime.

Uber was chosen to be the focus of this report as it is the oldest and largest of the ride-sharing applications. Smartphone geolocation matches drivers with potential riders.

According to the report there is a, “6 percent decline in the fatal rate. Fatal night-time crashes experienced a slightly larger decline of 18 percent.” Additionally Uber’s continued presence year over year saw a “16.6 percent decline in vehicle fatalities.”

Ride-sharing also lead to a robust decline in DUI arrest rates. “DUIs are 15 to 62 percent lower after the entry of Uber,” stated the report. “The average annual rate of decline after the introduction of Uber is 51.3 percent per year for DUIs.” There was also a decline in arrest rates for non-aggravated assaults and disorderly conduct.

The only increase was seen in arrest rates for motor vehicle thefts. Dr. Dills and Dr. Mulholland wrote that, “This could comes from an increased propensity for Uber passengers to leave personal vehicles parked in public locations.”

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