TARGET 8 investigates impact of Uber, Lyft on drunk driving

4 months 4 weeks 1 day 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
COLUMBIA - Local charity Pink Pursuit raises money to provide mammograms on a van that travels across Missouri. "I... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 3:25:00 AM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone and Callaway County has a new circuit judge. Judge J. Hasbrouck “Brouck” Jacobs will preside over... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 8:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri high school football teams are kicking off the final week of Friday Night Fever. In our FNF... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:51:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri kicked off its 106th Homecoming game day early Saturday morning with a parade full... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Fight for the First documentary was shown at the Missouri theatre for donors and students Friday. The film... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from the last week of the high school football season. Final scores will be in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:27:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis has been sentenced to six and a half years... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:01:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - #MeToo started as a tweet and turned into an international discussion on sexual harassment. Columbia resident Macy... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia is attracting attention for its innovation in collegiate eSports. From having the first varsity collegiate all-woman eSports... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:45:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
MEXICO – A former teacher pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of sexual contact with a student. Robert Cortez,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - Namaste Health Care alerted 1,600 patients to a security breach that happened the weekend of Aug. 12-13. A... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin announced that October 20 th would be recognized every year as Buckle... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:42:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, city officials... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Volunteers from the city and community spent the day picking up litter, clearing branches and cleaning sidewalks in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:55:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges he sold heroin in the hospital maternity ward... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:48:59 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A jazz museum that's plagued by operating losses and bounced checks to musicians could be headed... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 12:39:06 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Relatives of man who died at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility are alleging that a fungus infected... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:55:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A 21-year-old man faces a handful of charges for allegedly stealing from a church and also stealing... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:47:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 51°
1pm 53°
2pm 55°
3pm 56°
4pm 60°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:00a
Figure Skating
1:00p
F1 Countdown
2:00p
Formula One Racing
12:30p
Family Guy
1:00p
Made in Hollywood NOW
1:30p
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
7:00p
Twisted
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy