TARGET 8 investigates impact of Uber, Lyft on drunk driving

5 months 3 weeks 4 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
CAMDENTON - The place a man envisioned as his retreat away from the hustle and bustle of regular life now... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:05:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Shots were fired in downtown Columbia early Saturday morning in an area typically packed with late night celebrants.... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:49:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was hurt in a crash on Stadium Boulevard at the intersections of East Pointe Road and... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 9:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center off Providence Road caught fire Friday night. A division chief said crews... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 8:19:52 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Each of Missouri’s counties are slating new council members for their MU Extension County Council. The councils... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 6:52:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be putting "all available troopers" on the roads over Thanksgiving week. ... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 5:58:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Gloomy weather and a possible chance of rain isn't going to stop one Columbia organization from throwing on... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 4:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - The approval process took several months, but the process of planning a switch to a new sewage treatment... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 4:00:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
KINGDOM CITY - Hatton-McCredie Elementary’s 5th grade class donated $900 to Central Missouri Honor Flight, in honor of a late... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:51:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Haby Naya grew up in Chad, Africa. She spent lots of her free time braiding hair, anyone’s hair... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:45:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor will not file criminal charges against a Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:41:31 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler met with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Friday to discuss the new tax overhaul known as... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:24:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man Thursday after a woman said he had sexually assaulted her. According to police,... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 2:42:56 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Housing Development Commission held a meeting with Missouri citizens to share the final decisions for the... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:39:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis' largest skyscraper is on the market following foreclosure. The vacant 44-story office... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:30:48 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — A judge has agreed to once again push back the trial date for a St. Louis-area... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:28:54 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — The driver of a stolen vehicle involved in a crash that killed four people has been... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:26:19 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police officers will be required each month to read and acknowledge an order reiterating... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 12:48:28 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 51°
9am 45°
10am 43°
11am 41°
12pm 42°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today Weekend
8:30a
Naturally, Danny Seo
9:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
8:00a
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Family Edition
8:30a
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Family Edition
9:00a
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Family Edition

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Will & Grace
7:30p
Superstore
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld