Uber and Lyft often tout the benefits of using rideshare companies such as the safety that their services bring to the roads, especially because they keep more drunk people out of the driver’s seat. Pedestrian crash lawyers have wondered if safety has actually increased since they began operations because there seem to be regular reports of rideshare vs. pedestrian accidents such as the 80-year-old pedestrian who was struck and seriously injured by an Uber driver on South Coast Highway earlier this month.
University of Chicago study conducted
Apparently, researchers at the University of Chicago have been wondering the same thing as they recently released results of a study they conducted titled, ‘The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities.’ The results they released were surprising in some ways, but not surprising in other ways.
Rideshare companies have long claimed to reduce traffic congestion, reasoning that people call rideshare vehicles when it is more convenient than taking their own vehicles out and they would eliminate that last mile problem between public transportation drop-off and a person’s home. Other benefits include motor vehicle emissions being reduced as a result of less traffic and safer roads because of the reduction of drunk driving incidents. Study results found that not only are some of these claims unfounded, they actually may all be unfounded.
Rideshare study findings
See below for highlights of the University of Chicago study results.
- Researchers found that since the beginning of the rideshare boom, traffic deaths including both passengers and pedestrians have increased by 2 to 3 percent across the country resulting in approximately 1,100 additional deaths per year.
- The study did not find any solid data that there has been a reduction in fatal DUI accidents.
- Since the introduction of ridesharing, there has been an increase in vehicle arterial miles traveled, excess gas consumption, annual hours of delay in traffic, and new car registrations.
- Rideshare driving is often just substituting driving oneself for being driven by a rideshare driver, which does not actually reduce the number of cars on the road. Also, people who are using rideshare services would not necessarily be driving themselves if there were no rideshare services. They may be using taxis or some other public transportation, walking, or riding a bicycle. With this in mind, putting rideshare drivers on the road to drive these people who would not be otherwise driving themselves supports the idea that rideshares increase congestion and road utilization.
- One other finding to support increased congestion and utilization is that rideshare drivers only have passengers in their vehicles 40 to 60 percent of the time that they are logged into the app and looking for passengers. Sometimes rideshare companies will subsidize drivers during slow times to keep them on the road because they want drivers to be readily available for passengers.
Regardless of the study findings, Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys do not see Uber and Lyft leaving our city anytime soon. If you or a loved one has been struck by a rideshare or any other type of motor vehicle, contact our personal injury team at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to discuss your accident and injuries sustained.