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Ride-sharing may not decrease drunk driving

While many across Maryland use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft if they plan to have a night on the town, a new study says that despite Uber's claims, these services have had no impact on the number of people driving drunk.

As Fortune reports, a recent study compared the number of traffic fatalities on holidays and weekends in areas before ride-sharing was available and after the apps were introduced. No association was found in a reduction of driving deaths in the 100 most populous metro areas included in the study. The researchers from the University of Southern California and Oxford University stated that the lack of a decrease in drunk driving deaths may be because there are still not enough drivers working for the services or because it is possible that those who used cabs previously are the ones using the apps. This contradicts a 2015 study commissioned by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving that found a sharp decrease in accidents and arrests in communities that had ride-sharing services.

The New York Times points out that studies have not found conclusive answers to this question. An independent study of four New York boroughs that excluded Staten Island did find a decrease of at least 25 percent in car accidents where alcohol was involved. The study compared places where ride-sharing was not available to data from New York since 2011 when Uber came to town. That comes out to about 40 fewer accidents each month. Since the most conclusive study was the one that came from Uber itself, researchers are only cautiously optimistic that the correlation in decreased accidents can be attributed to ride-sharing.

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