While not available in every region across the United States, ride share services have become a staple in many peoples’ lives. From those who live in busy metropolitan areas where owning a car is not financially feasible, to those who are planning a night out on the town and realize that safely driving themselves home will not be an option, ride share apps are in common usage. The main concern, though, is has this easy-to-use service resulted in safer roads?
Economists from Rice University and the University of Chicago School of Business analyzed data published by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and CrashStats. They studied data from both before and after ridesharing companies gained popularity in cities across the nation. Even after controlling for certain factors, the researchers noted that vehicle accidents involving a fatality have increased by between 2% and 4% annually.
What is the “quantity effect?”
The researchers recognized that the availability of the ride share economy has likely removed impaired drivers (drivers under the influence of drugs, alcohol or strong medication) from the streets. Unfortunately, it has also likely increased the number of overall vehicles on the road. This is something the economists dubbed the “quantity effect.” In essence, people who would have previously walked, ridden a bicycle, taken public transportation or shared a ride with a friend were now using Uber, Lyft and other ride share services. While this conclusion might be controversial, the researchers noted that more cars on the streets simply led to more accidents.
Actions taken by the ride share driver himself or herself could lead to vehicle collisions, including:
- Drivers manipulating a GPS unit to reach their customer
- Drivers carefully watching the GPS screen rather than traffic around them
- Drivers speeding to their next fare to increase overall profits for their shift
- Drivers stopping or changing lanes abruptly when they arrive at their location
While these services might be removing drunk, drugged or inexperienced drivers from the highways and city streets around Florida, it should be understood that adding more cars to the roads could still result in a negative experience. Serious collisions result in serious injuries that could cause a lifetime of pain.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident caused by a ride share driver, it is important that you discuss your case with an experienced legal professional.