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Transportation Software Technology

Alcohol-Related Car Accidents Declined In New York After Introduction of Uber, Analysis Finds (economist.com) 69

According to a new paper from Jessica Lynn Peck of the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, ride-hailing services may have helped reduce alcohol-related traffic accidents by 25-30% in New York City. The report specifically focuses on Uber, which was first introduced in the city in May 2011, and looks at how the ride-hailing service has impacted New York City. The Economist notes in its report that Uber is "largely banned outside of New York City." From the report: To control for factors unrelated to Uber's launch such as adverse weather conditions, Ms Peck compares accident rates in each of New York's five boroughs to those in the counties where Uber was not present, picking those that had the most similar population density and pre-2011 drunk-driving rate. The four boroughs which were quick to adopt Uber -- Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx-- all saw decreases in alcohol-related car crashes relative to their controls. By contrast, Staten Island, where Uber caught on more slowly, saw no such decrease.
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Alcohol-Related Car Accidents Declined In New York After Introduction of Uber, Analysis Finds

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  • In Manhattan???? (Score:4, Informative)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @09:31PM (#54188959) Homepage

    Look, half the reason people come to NYC is the fact that you don't drive - you take cabs or the subways. I know drunkards that moved here JUST for the ability to get drunk at any time of day or night and get home without driving.

    I could see Uber cutting down alcohol related driving accidents in any other part of the world - even in Queens or Brooklyn (as there are places far from subways that cabs don't visit).

    But if you are drunk and driving in MANHATTAN, you should be put in prison for being stupid, rather than for DWI.

    • It's still the US, so people are far more mindboggingly car-crazy than in the rest of the world. And the study quoted an percentage decrease, so absolute values don't matter (as long as they're big enough for a meaningful difference).

      • No gurps_npc is right. I've lived in NYC 20 years and I think I've driven a car in the city twice. You are right KiloByte that we are unusually into cars; I still drive cars when I'm in other parts of the US. But seriously, the statistical significance of people in NYC driving home from a bar after drinking is gotta be 0. Before Uber there was 0 reason to drive a car home, and you can't go down from 0.

        • No gurps_npc is right. I've lived in NYC 20 years and I think I've driven a car in the city twice. You are right KiloByte that we are unusually into cars; I still drive cars when I'm in other parts of the US. But seriously, the statistical significance of people in NYC driving home from a bar after drinking is gotta be 0. Before Uber there was 0 reason to drive a car home, and you can't go down from 0.

          They should do the study here in New Orleans.

          I guarantee they'd see a significant drop and drunk driving

    • Look, half the reason people come to NYC is the fact that you don't drive - you take cabs or the subways.

      Then why are the streets full of cars?

      • Because people are stupid. They will drive 500m to the gym, and take an escalator to the first floor, just to use a treadmill.

        • Because people are stupid. They will drive 500m to the gym, and take an escalator to the first floor, just to use a treadmill.

          I just go to the mall and use the wrong escalator until security shows up. That's when it's time to practice sprinting.

        • You forgot about how they wait 10 minutes idling in the parking lot, for the person leaving from the really close spot to the doors so they don't have to walk. I think that's the best part.
    • Look, half the reason people come to NYC is the fact that you don't drive - you take cabs or the subways. I know drunkards that moved here JUST for the ability to get drunk at any time of day or night and get home without driving.

      I could see Uber cutting down alcohol related driving accidents in any other part of the world - even in Queens or Brooklyn (as there are places far from subways that cabs don't visit).

      But if you are drunk and driving in MANHATTAN, you should be put in prison for being stupid, rather than for DWI.

      Of course by NYC, you really mean MANHATTAN. 80% of the NYC popluation lives outside Manhttan, most of them not withing walking distance to subway stations and far enough from Manhattan for a eye-watering cab bill. This without even mentioning the people living across the Hudson in NJ, many who work (and party) in Manhattan

    • From 2009 to 2013, drunk-driving accidents in New York killed 1,715 people, according to the federal data.

      Source [syracuse.com]. Maybe you just don't know your own city.

  • So what they're saying is that if you introduce a workaround to bypass government anti-competitive restrictions on the supply of something, people will be able to purchase more of it.

    What a shocking result....

    • Re:Supply and Demand (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @10:07PM (#54189091) Homepage

      Either that or Uber just happened to coincide with a general switch from alchohol as the intoxicant of choice to marijuana. So it switch from drivers driving to fast, to drivers driving to slow (those slow drivers not being in accidents so much as triggering them, when they set off a alchohol fuelled driver). It would be interesting to see how stoned drivers perform on a racetrack with very safe vehicles of course, how fast could they actually go before panicking and giving up.

      • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @08:08AM (#54190521)

        It would be interesting to see how stoned drivers perform on a racetrack with very safe vehicles of course...

        As interesting as this is.

        I think your initial premise is wrong. People switching from alcohol to marijuana is not the cause of this slowdown in drunk driving.

        In my area for instance, which is a suburb outside of San Francisco, a bartender told me that taxis were too difficult to get ten years ago, that's why many of his customers didn't use them. He'd call one for a patron, and it wouldn't even show up. And when he'd get off work, he'd call a taxi for himself and the operator would tell him that it was going to take 45 minutes to get there to pick him up.

        Now it just takes 2 to 10 minutes to get an Uber/Lyft. That's the crucial difference because the number of people leaving his establishment drunk hasn't really changed in the past ten years.

        And no, you don't have to believe me, I am an Uber driver so I could be very biased. And if you live an Uber/Lyft rich area, I only ask that you ask longtime bartenders to see what they can tell you about this question. I suspect that they'll tell you the same thing that the bartender I met said.

      • I doubt Uber can be the cause of the decline, but I also doubt that marijuana use is the cause also. New York State only started to allow medical marijuana early last year, and only if it's in extracts or edible.
        http://extract.suntimes.com/in... [suntimes.com]

        I wouldn't think the number of people who started using medical marijuana would have an effect on the number of drunk drivers.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          I also think slashdot does not have a sense of humour. I of course still think it would be hilarious watching a bunch of stoned drivers trying to race around a race track in fairly safe cars, the facial expressions trying to make their way around the track at speed would be really humorous.

          • Yeah I guess I missed the humor in your post. After all, it was modded +4 Interesting instead of +5 Funny :-)

      • It would be interesting to see how stoned drivers perform on a racetrack with very safe vehicles of course, how fast could they actually go before panicking and giving up.

        I have done this. I was in a Mercedes Benz E55 AMG. I had amazing lap times. In fact, the owner of the track told me that he had never had a car that was street legal drive that fast on his track before. He took me aside and showed me his collection of race M3s.

        I lapped every Porsche on the track. I suspect they were "noobs" (originally newbs).

        There was a Z06 there. It could almost keep up with me in the curves and there was Viper which could almost keep up with me in the straights. There were only two cars

      • A little alcohol to help me drive assertively, and a little pot to get me in the groove: I wouldn't need a soundtrack, the roar of the engines would be enough. Man that sounds like fun. Moderation, of course, except for speed, of course.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Me I prefer a nice stroll through pleasant burbs, views down leafy streets, listening to tunes, I could not imagine racing in anything, no way, no how.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's possible the app itself makes it easier to hail a cab instead. Instead of calling, they just use an app and they don't need to use cash.

      Pairing the app with taxis could have the same result.

      • It's possible the app itself makes it easier to hail a cab instead. Instead of calling, they just use an app and they don't need to use cash.

        Actually, over the last year or two I've taken cab rides here in Southern California, I've had no problem paying for my cab with a credit card. Can't speak for NYC, but it's a good point.

        One excuse for driving instead of taking a cab would be that you don't have to worry about having enough cash for the ride home. I know that sometimes became an issue back in my drinking days.

      • The app is nice, but the other really big thing that Uber brings to the table is surge pricing. A surge really does what it is designed to do: gets many more drivers out on the road to match the large demand with more supply. Taxis don't have anything like that. If there aren't enough taxis, you just have to wait.
    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      So what they're saying is that if you introduce a workaround to bypass government anti-competitive restrictions on the supply of something, people will be able to purchase more of it.

      What a shocking result....

      Or maybe they're saying that if drunks can take advantage of people who have been duped (or have fooled themselves) into providing a service at starvation wages, they will do it. That's shocking as well.

  • by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @09:56PM (#54189055)

    Then all those cars on the roads are from where exactly?

    That aside, give people an even easier way not to drive, especially when drunk, and surprise, drunk driving goes down.

    Whodathunkit?

  • Every story on this site is about Uber, Amazon, and Facebook. Who the fuck cares? More emDrive news please. I need to get off this rock stuck in a gravity well.
    • I agree. By now every Uber story and its comments do nothing but rehash the same subject. I also noticed many of these stories never show up in the Firehose so we can't vote them down.

  • ... how did taxi companies drop the ball on this one?

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      ... how did taxi companies drop the ball on this one?

      they are not subsidized by private investors willing to sink billions in creating a customer base in the hope that one day with autonomous cars the company will make money.

    • They're used to a monopoly, and charging obscene rates. Fuck them. Let them die.

  • This article was brought to you by your friends at Uber.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @11:19PM (#54189323) Journal

    Here in Texas, we make up for all those coastal elite snowflakes who think there's something wrong with drinking and driving.

  • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @12:00AM (#54189383) Journal

    The title is self-contradictory. When a crash is alcohol-related, it isn't accidental, it's criminally negligent.

    Even the NYPD agrees that "accident" means "there's no criminality...that's why they call it an accident." [citylab.com] But when alcohol is involved, there's criminality and therefore cannot logically be a true accident.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The title is self-contradictory. When a crash is alcohol-related, it isn't accidental, it's criminally negligent.

      I just crashed my methanol powered car, you insensitive clod

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @07:00AM (#54190319)

      it isn't accidental, it's criminally negligent

      You're describing two different parts of the situation in one sentence. You can't be criminally negligent at a time when two cars come together without the process also being accidental. Otherwise it wouldn't be criminally negligent but rather attempted murder or something with similar criminal intent.

      Criminal negligence is a process that ultimately leads to the accident. Negligent people don't actually try and injure others, but they possess poor judgement protecting others.

      A car accident may be the result of criminal negligence or may be truly accidental. The only time it stops being a car accident is if you attempt to mow down someone on purpose.

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        One definition of "accidental" is "happening by chance". When you drive drunk, does a crash happen truly by chance?

        Another definition is "unexpected". Is driving drunk not expected to lead to crashes?

        Another definition is "arising from extrinsic causes". When you drive drunk and get into a crash, was the cause of the crash outside of your control?

        So you see, it requires a remarkably narrow definition of the word "accidental" to make the claim that alcohol-related crashes are accidental. This is why the NYPD

        • When you drive drunk, does a crash happen truly by chance?

          Err yes. Changing the odds to anything other than 1.0 still leaves it truly to chance.

          Is driving drunk not expected to lead to crashes?

          No. It's expected to increase the probability of a crash due to impairment of motorskills.

          When you drive drunk and get into a crash, was the cause of the crash outside of your control?

          Depends on the circumstances of the crash.

          So you see, it requires a remarkably narrow definition of the word "accidental" to make the claim that alcohol-related crashes are accidental.

          Nope all I see are 3 irrelevant things that doesn't change the use of the word.

          This is why the NYPD in my link above says that true accidents involve no criminality.

          Criminality isn't an accident, the crash is. You're citing a different part of the event. You are criminally negligent when driving drunk, and you can't do that accidentally. That has nothing to do with the ultimate

          • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

            driving drunk...has nothing to do with the ultimate crash.

            I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  • Think of how much unemployment Uber can cause if it eliminates 30% of drunk driving. Doctors, emergency rooms, ambulances, morticians, courts and even police forces can lay off workers due to less drunk driving. Insurance companies make huge sums raping the wallets of convicted drunk drivers and God only knows how many bricks in the court house were paid for by drunk drivers. Can society survive this kind of progress? Next they will find a way to beat down heroin addiction. Imagine the countless jobs
  • And before this the pro-cannabis party were claiming the increased usage of pot was responsible. Everyone just trying to grab the credit because irrational statements keep pulling in the readers.

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