Reduction of Drunk Driving Car Accidents Due to UBER
Does the growing use of ride sharing apps like Uber or Lyft actually reduce the number of drunk driving car accidents in Houston? A growing number of studies indicates that this is exactly the case, including one report by MADD. The reduction in Houston is probably more pronounced than other places due to several factors.
Lack of Mass Transit in Houston Causes More Car Accidents
First, Houston does not have an effective mass-transportation system that allows people to get from bars and private functions without using their cars. In most large cities, there is a vast rail system which is relied upon by people to get to work and to get home after a night out. While there is a constant debate raging about whether or not to have an expanded rail system in Houston such as going down I-10, I-45 and US 59 freeways, the fact of the matter is this would not lead to a reduction in car accidents caused by drunk driving and would not be as effective as in other major cities. The reason for this is population density. In other cities, there are densely concentrated areas of the city where people live in multi-family units. The rail system can easily accommodate many people who can rely upon it to go directly from a bar or work to their homes without the need for a car. Much of this population density is due to natural barrier such as the ocean or rivers which put a limitation on land expansion and cause high-rises to be built. In Houston, there is virtually no limit to the land available for single-family housing as the boundaries of the city continue to expand in all directions. So, even if trains were put down every freeway in Houston, the passengers would still need a car to get from the station to their homes – a distance which could still be ten or more miles away. Therefore, those that want to get home safely are going to use Uber or another ride sharing app to do so.
Concentration of Bars in Houston Leads to Drunk Driving
Second, while there aren’t high-density living areas in Houston, there does seem to be areas of town where the bars are concentrated. Washington Avenue just west of downtown Houston and Midtown are growing areas of night life for the young adults in the area. There are many successful bars in these parts of town and they are a magnet for young party-goers. They are also spots in Houston where a great number of drunk driving arrests take place. The fact of the matter is that if there is not a designated driver, they simply cannot get to these areas using mass transit. Inevitably, patrons of the bars in these areas will be driving – there and back. With the advent of Uber and Lyft, they can now get a ride or “UBER” to the bar and get home safely (and cheaply) without the fear of arrest or the risk that they will injure themselves or others.