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Effects of ride-sharing apps on drunk driving not conclusive

Many in Texas have used a ride-sharing application, such as Uber or Lyft, to get where they need to go. Yet the jury is still out on whether or not the existence of these services has any substantial effect on the rates of drunk driving in an area.

As the New York Times explains, though several studies have been conducted, they do not come to the same conclusions on the success of ride-sharing to prevent accidents related to drunk driving. While Uber makes claims of lowering accidents and one independent study found that New York City has a 25 to 35 percent lower incidence of drunk driving accidents compared to areas that do not have Uber or a competitor, another recent study found the opposite. 

As Fortune reports, researchers from University of Southern California and Oxford University compared holiday and weekend traffic fatalities in 100 metropolitan areas across the country to look at numbers before ride-sharing services became available to the data after Uber or Lyft came to town. They found that the introduction of these services had no association with lowering accidents in the area, regardless of whether or not accidents were measured generally or in relation to alcohol-influenced accidents. The researchers believe the lack of measured impact could be due to areas not having enough drivers available to counteract drunk drivers, the users of the services may have just switched from taking traditional car services like taxis, or that people who decide to drive drunk do so regardless of the available ride options.

These findings are in stark contrast to a 2015 study conducted by Uber in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving that found a sharp decrease in drunk driving accidents and arrests after the ride-sharing service came to an area.

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