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Study Finds Ridesharing Has Increased Traffic Fatalities

Published on Apr 16, 2019 at 9:47 am in Car Accidents.

According to a study from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, rideshare services are increasing the percentage of fatal automobile accidents and fatalities of vehicle occupants by two to three percent.

In 2010, 32,885 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. That was the lowest reported number of fatalities since 1949, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). After rideshare services were introduced in the United States, however, the decline stopped and reversed. In 2016, there were 37,461 vehicular occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists killed in wrecks.

When initially conducting the study, Professor Yael V. Hochberg, Professor John M. Barrios, and graduate student Livia Hanyi Yi had hoped the increase of ridesharing services had contributed to saving lives and reducing instances of car accidents. They’re finding showed the opposite.

They are attributing the increase to what they call the quantity effect. Rideshare services are putting more cars on the road, more miles are being driven, and the roadways are being used more. This is contributing to increased accident rates. Pedestrians, cyclists, and bystanders are also being affected by the increase in ridesharing.

It was initially thought that ridesharing companies would take intoxicated drivers off the road and reduce crash rates. Because rideshare companies are most prevalent in densely populated cities, many people choose to use them to get home if they’ve been drinking. Prior to rideshare services, those people may have chosen to walk, bike, or take public transport – which took vehicles off the road. So while there are fewer drunk drivers on the road, there are more vehicles altogether.

While rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft may be taking irresponsible drivers off the road, the drivers are faced with their own unique distractions. They may be distracted by their GPS systems to get their passengers where they need to be. To make up for dense traffic they may try to speed to pick up passengers. There’s also the chance of abrupt stops in the city leading to crashes.

The study notes that these findings are short-term in nature. The long-term consequences of ridesharing may differ. Drivers could find the job too expensive and decide to pursue other work. Others may become better drivers overtime and reduce their own risks of getting into an accident. Until then, it’s crucial to be aware of the dangers rideshare companies present so rideshare companies can implement regulations to reduce the risk of car crash fatalities.

Filing a car accident injury claim against a rideshare company can be challenging. You’ll need experienced legal representation to build a strong case that proves you were wrongfully injured and deserve compensation to cover your losses. Our lawyers in Omaha are prepared to take your case on. For a free initial case evaluation, contact our firm today.