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Study reveals crash-related pros and cons of ridesharing

While the streets of Butler and nearby communities – including Pittsburgh – are quieter these days, there is little doubt that we all look forward to a return of the bustling lives we had not very long ago. When normalcy returns, it will bring with it familiar problems, including traffic congestion.

Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have emerged in recent years as cost-effective ways to avoid having to fight for parking spots, navigate high-traffic areas and as safer alternatives for people who go to clubs and bars and want to avoid drunk driving arrests and motor vehicle crashes.

A new study shows that while Uber and Lyft do indeed help decrease the number of drunk driving accidents, that improvement in road safety is offset by an increase in the number of vehicle crashes overall. Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health say that there are increases in crashes involving motorists and pedestrians at ridesharing pick-up and drop-off spots.

The study published in the journal Injury Prevention say that sine Uber and Lyft launched a decade ago, Americans have taken 11 billion trips on rideshare services. While several other studies have determined that alcohol-related vehicle wrecks decrease in cities where Uber and Lyft are available, there is regardless no change in overall crash totals.

Researchers used data from 372 million trips in New York City in 2017 and 2018. They identified city spots where crashes occurred and then calculated the number of ride-hailing trips that originated nearby at the same time. They then compared that number to the number of ride-hailing trips that originated in that same spot a week before the accident and a week afterwards.

They went through the same process for taxi rides and then sorted crashes according to injuries to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The statistics compiled showed that where ride-hailing increased, so too did the number of crashes in which motorists and pedestrians suffered injuries. They did not find an increase in crashes involving cyclists or taxis.

One of the researchers said while ride-hailing apps and services reduce drunk driving wrecks, the study shows that “the reductions in alcohol-related crashes are offset by increases in other types of crashes.”

If you have been injured in a crash involving a ridesharing service or an impaired driver, contact a Butler attorney experienced in protecting rights and health in personal injury litigation.