TARGET 8 investigates impact of Uber, Lyft on drunk driving

2 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Wednesday, May 24 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 5:28:00 PM CDT May 24, 2017 in Target 8
By: Emma Rechenberg, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Columbia visitor Zach Walther describes Uber as "convenient."

The 23-year-old frequently uses the ride-sharing app, which arrived in Columbia three years ago in October 2014.

"It's all on my phone, I don't have to worry about finding rides, or dealing with finding taxis, or getting any sort of public transit," Walther said."It's just quick and convenient to do."

When Walther plans to grab drinks with friends, he uses the app to get home safely.

"If you've been drinking it's just an easy way to make sure that you have an option," he said. "You don't have to worry about what you're going to do. You can just go out and have a good time, and know that you've got a safe way to get home." 

Walther's decision to use the app for a safe ride home is similar to what Uber advertises on its website.

"There’s a strong correlation between Uber’s presence in cities and a reduction in drunk driving. And we’ve partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in the U.S. to raise awareness about safer ways to get home. Because having more options leads to better outcomes."

A recent news release by Lyft included statistics that echo Uber's statement:

"Studies have shown that ride-sharing can have a positive impact on public safety, reducing alcohol-related driving arrests by up to 51 percent and DWI deaths by more than 10 percent."

Although Gov. Eric Greitens recently signed a law that would allow ride-hailing services to operate statewide, four Missouri cities welcomed Uber years ago. Those cities included Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia. KOMU 8 News spoke with Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, who was the ride-sharing bill's initial sponsor, before Greitens signed the law on April 24. When asked why the law was needed, Mathews cited public safety with alcohol-related incidents as "first and foremost."

"In other states where these regulations have been enacted, drunk driving arrests have fallen," Mathews said. "We want to make it easy for someone who maybe had a little bit too much to drink to just open their app and get a ride home, rather than try to get behind the wheel of their car."

Target 8 Investigators wanted to see whether Uber's presence in Columbia has influenced the number of alcohol-impaired driving crashes since the service arrived in 2014.

Scott Jones, who works as the Missouri Highway Safety Program Administrator, said there has been no evident difference in crash prevention since Uber appeared.

"Trend-wise, with Columbia in general, it's stayed roughly the same as far as fatalities and serious or disabling injury crashes," Jones said. "Statewide it's been quite a bit of a reduction, but in Columbia itself, it looks like it's stayed relatively the same."

Data of crashes with alcohol impaired drivers annually in Columbia, Missouri —

The above data is provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation.  

At this time, Jones said Uber's influence is "probably too early to tell."

"When we look at the hard numbers it looks like it's roughly the same, but that's really only about a two year time frame that we're looking at, since our data from 2016 is preliminary and obviously 2017 we're in the middle of right now," he said.

Despite the lack of evidence, Jones does not discourage people from using these services.

"I think we need to give it some time, but just on face value it's kind of common sense, it gives people that option to get themselves home and I don't think there's anything wrong with that."

Statewide, the number of fatalities has continued to increase; however, alcohol and drug impaired crashes have decreased.

"We are for 2016 at 947 fatalities, and even though that's been going up, our number of impaired driving related crashes have been going down," Jones said.

 

 Data of crashes involving at least one substance impaired driver in Missouri annually —

The above data is provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

When asked why the substance impaired crashes are decreasing, Jones said, "people have kind of been getting the message."

Jones also referenced statewide programs and resources aimed to increase awareness. 

"We have put quite a bit of resources into both educating drivers and the motoring public on the dangers of alcohol or drug impaired driving," Jones said. "Also, we do a lot of programs with law enforcement to try to boost enforcement especially on certain campaigns throughout the year."

Jones said these campaigns are not intended to deter people from enjoying themselves.

"We're not at all saying 'don't have a good time.' By all means go out and enjoy yourself, but just make sure that you have a safe way home," he said. "Whether it be a friend to drive you, city transportation, a taxi or the ride-sharing services that are now coming out."

Target 8 Investigators also looked into the number of DUI arrests in Columbia reported before and after Uber's arrival.

Data of DUI arrests annually in Columbia, Missouri —

The above data can be found in the statewide Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Statistical Query.

Bryana Larimer, a public information officer for CPD, told KOMU 8 News in an email, "I would not be able to speculate on whether or not the decrease is because of Uber." 

Larimer also included CPD's statement on ride-hailing services in Columbia.

"As a department, we encourage the use of designated drivers, ride-sharing programs, and available public transportation as alternatives to impaired driving," Larimer said.

Uber customer Walther said he plans to continue using the service, with no intention of hailing local taxis. 

"Uber is usually cheaper and easier to find," Walther said.

More News

Grid
List
MOBERLY - A state medical board suspended the license for a doctor after finding he improperly gave drugs to and... More >>
18 minutes ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 9:27:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man and woman Thursday afternoon on suspicion of burglary. Deputies were dispatched... More >>
52 minutes ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 8:53:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
RAYMORE, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a suspected improvised explosive device has been detonated near a suburban Kansas City patrol... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 8:37:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Thousands of people are expected to gather at the state capitol Friday for a rally against the... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 8:07:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Jefferson City Police Department will be participating in the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 7:30:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A small fire damaged an apartment building on Clark Avenue early Friday morning. At about 4:00... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 6:53:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - MarineParents.com, which is based in Columbia, helped grant a mother's wish for her fallen Marine, Cody Haley. 780... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:21:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Opponents of Missouri's right-to-work law are one step closer to having it delayed. A coalition of unions... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:40:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Hotels in Columbia are already over 95 percent full for the upcoming eclipse weekend. Megan McConachie, Strategic... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
CLINTON (AP) — A man accused of providing the weapon used to kill a western Missouri police officer is facing... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:23:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It just got a lot easier to serve alcohol over the forthcoming eclipse weekend in Jefferson City.... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:16:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
PETTIS COUNTY - A man was shot and killed at a trailer park outside the Sedalia city limits Thursday afternoon,... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:12:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A toddler and mother were thrown from a car and two other people were hurt in a... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:02:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — Missouri's Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson says he's considering running for state auditor. Richardson told The... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:17:32 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
SEDALIA - Sen. Roy Blunt agreed with some of President Trump's comments on Charlottesville, Virginia and condemned white supremacists on... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:02:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in Continuous News
SEDALIA — Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her potential Republican rival Attorney General Josh Hawley are meeting at the... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 2:46:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on a Missouri lawmaker posting and deleting a comment hoping President Trump is... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:47:00 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
MARSHFIELD (AP) — A search warrant that has been unsealed recently gives details about what authorities are calling a murder-suicide... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:06:43 PM CDT August 17, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
10am 77°
11am 81°
12pm 84°
1pm 86°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Jerry Springer
11:00a
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Masters of Illusion
7:30p
Masters of Illusion
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld