Since its inception in 2009, ride-sharing app Uber has changed the way we commute. Within minutes, we can now get from point A to point B anytime we want simply by opening up an app on our phone. After a night out, ride-sharing apps like Uber make it easy for people to get home safely. But does Uber’s ease of use translate to fewer DUIs? We looked at drunk driving arrest data from 10 major cities across the U.S. to find out.
When comparing the average number of DUIs two years before Uber launched and after, we found that DUIs have indeed decreased within these 10 cities. In particular, Las Vegas and San Diego stand out as having the most dramatic decrease in DUI arrests. On average, DUI arrests decreased by 37 percent in Las Vegas from 2013 to 2016. In a city known for its nightlife, Vegas had an average of 4,859 DUI arrests per year before Uber launched in September 2015. However, that number dropped to 3,056 after the ride-sharing app became available.
In Uber’s home state of California, a similar decrease in DUIs can be seen in San Diego. After launching in San Diego in June 2012, DUI arrests fell by 32%. If we travel California’s coast north to San Francisco, which is home to Uber’s headquarters and the first city where the app was launched, DUIs have been on a steady decline since 2010, with the exception of a slight uptick in 2011.
Elsewhere in California, Los Angeles also saw a decrease in DUIs. Drunk driving arrests have fallen by 14% since 2012, but the largest drop occurred between 2014 and 2016 when the number of DUIs was nearly cut in half.
Halfway across the country, Chicago has also seen a substantial dip in DUI arrests. On average, DUIs in the Windy City decreased by 18% from 2009 to 2016. The city had an average of 4,018 DUIs per year before Uber launched in September 2011. Since then, arrests have fallen to an average of 3,284 per year.
There’s no doubt Uber has changed the way we travel, but whether this downward trend of DUI arrests continues remains to be seen. Regardless of what the future holds, these numbers certainly shed interesting insight on the impact ride-sharing has had on drunk driving.