Study shines light on ridesharing pros and cons

Regular readers of our Silver Spring personal injury law blog might recall that back in February, we wrote about claims by rideshare companies that their services are safe. We correctly noted then that “ridesharing is a safer option than driving while impaired.”

While a new study confirms that statement, it also points out that ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft offset a reduction in drunk driving crashes with increases in other types of motor vehicle wrecks that cause injuries to motorists and pedestrians.

The study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health was published in the journal Injury Prevention. It notes that vehicle accidents result in around 1.3 million deaths annually around the world. Here in the U.S., more than 33,000 were killed in crashes in 2018 and another 2.3 million suffered injuries.

In the decade since Uber and Lyft launched, ridesharing services have provided more than 11 billion trips in the U.S. Researchers analyzed data from 372 million rides in New York City in 2017 and 2018, determining where in the city vehicle crashes occurred, and then determining how many ride-hailing trips originated nearby at the time of the wreck.

They then determined the number of ride-hailing trips in those same spots a week before and a week after the crash and then divided the crash data according to injuries to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Researchers then went through the same process for taxi rides.

Their analyses showed that the rise in ridesharing was linked to a rise in crashes in which motorists and pedestrians were injured. A recent news article on the study stated that researchers found no such link for taxi trips.

A researcher said, “It is becoming clear that (ride-hailing) technology reduces alcohol-related crashes, but these benefits do not seem to extend to the overall number of crashes. These findings help explain why that might be — because the reductions in alcohol-related crashes are offset by increases in other types of crashes.”

Those in the Silver Spring area who have been injured by a rideshare driver or by someone who was driving drunk should contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation and negotiations.