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Data inconclusive on Uber's effects on drunk driving

Many Connecticut drivers fear being hit by a drunk driver, and the existence of Uber and Lyft has left some feeling relieved. Yet studies on the effects of ride-sharing services have not found consensus on whether or not the existence of these apps has actually lowered rates of drunk driving.

As Fortune reports, a 2016 study found that after looking at data for more than 100 large metro areas across the country, there was no associated drop in traffic deaths following the introduction of these services. The researchers from the University of Southern California and Oxford University studied traffic fatality data from before and after these apps came to the communities and did not see a drop in deaths due to alcohol-related car accidents or fatalities in car accidents generally. This is in sharp contrast to the results of a 2015 study conducted by Uber in connection with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which found that California markets saw 60 fewer accidents each month from drivers under the age of 30.

As the New York Times notes, this study was "unequivocal" in the connection between ride-sharing and a decrease in drunk driving. While scientists and researchers from independent studies are more hesitant in making such bold claims, several other studies have supported Uber's findings. A study out of West Carolina University saw associations between the introduction of Uber in more areas to decreases in the rates of deadly crashes across the country. A Temple University study found that Uber's existence correlated with lowered vehicular homicide rates across the state of California. A new study also found that New York City had about 40 fewer alcohol-related accidents each month than areas where Uber and its competitors were not available.

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