Study Suggests Uber and Lyft Possibly Contribute to Increased Car Accidents

November 5, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Study Suggests Uber and Lyft Possibly Contribute to Increased Car Accidents

Rise of Uber and Lyft Coincides With Increasing Car Accident Trends

A recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago suggests that the rise of Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services may have contributed to the increased amounts of car accidents in areas where the services are active. The researcher's paper titled The Cost of Convenience analyzed traffic collision data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the 2,955 of census-designated places between 2001 and 2016 with emphasis on the 1,185 areas where ride-hailing services offered by Uber and Lyft are available and if these services had an increasing effect on the number of car accidents. The intent of the research was at first to show the benefits of ridesharing when it comes to decreasing accident rates. This sentiment has been spread with the claim that Ubers and Lyfts help decrease the number of drunk drivers by providing an easy transportation alternative for the intoxicated. Unfortunately, the preliminary findings seem to indicate that the advent of Uber and Lyft ride-hailing accompanies a 2-3% increase in total car accidents. While this research is still in its preliminary stages and has yet to be fully vetted via peer-review, it still poses some concerning conclusions that if found to be legitimate, can cause Uber and Lyft to fall under greater scrutiny. Correlation may not equal causation but the questions this study raises deserve to be examined in depth.

Uber and Lyft Advent and The Reversing of Car Accident Decrease Trend

When the University of Chicago researchers were studying the rates of car accidents from 2001-2016 they noticed that from 2001 to 2010 marked a clear trend of decreasing car accident rates where 2010 had 32,885 car accidents nationwide, the lowest number since 1949. Immediately following this all-time low when Uber and Lyft arrived on the scene, car accidents began to pick up once more according to the study.

Why Might Uber and Lyft Services Increase Car Accident Rates?

One of the more likely reasons why the rate of car accidents increased around the rise of the ride-hailing services, Uber and Lyft, is due to the increase of vehicles on the road. The sharing economy of ride hail vehicles demands a large amount of Uber and Lyft vehicles be available for the many Uber and Lyft app users hailing rides. With the increase of vehicles on the road comes an increase in congestion in traffic which leads to increased risk of accidents. While Uber and Lyft have pointed to studies that claim the ridesharing decreases accidents reducing the number of drunk drivers getting behind the wheel, experts have argued that the situation is one of quantity over quality. The University of Chicago study argues that while Uber and Lyft likely to reduce the amount of drunk driver's getting behind the wheel, that benefit may be overshadowed by how ridesharing increases the number of vehicles sharing the road and therefore accident risk. Ridesharing can potentially decrease the number of vehicles on the roads. Carpooling apps present a great solution to allowing people a cheap transportation alternative yet many still prefer to utilize private rides on ride-hailing services.

Large Cities and Uber and Lyft Congestion Issues Cause Accidents

The information analyzed in the University of Chicago study suggests that major cities with large populations and a low per capita income tend to have it the worst when it comes to the increase in car accidents. Coincidentally, these cities tend to also have some of the most active Uber and Lyft economies. Mostly when ridesharing competes with public transportation that the public has moved away from in favor of Uber and Lyft is when an increase in car accidents occur. A notable example is New York City that has had some massive problems when it comes to rideshare vehicles increasing the amount of congestion in its streets. Due to New York Cities issues when it comes to public transportation, many of the city's denizens took to utilizing the ride-hailing services of Uber and Lyft to get around instead. This lead to an enormous increase in Uber and Lyft services that clogged up the streets and made traffic for all nearly unnavigable. As a result, taxi services were almost driven out of business entirely and the city ended up putting a cap on the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles able to operate in the city. Many other cities have encountered similar issues where the amount of cars on the road due to increased Uber and Lyft demand has caused issues with traffic congestion. Uber and Lyft argue that their service is beneficial to underserved demographics and provides a service that many have grown dependant on yet the issue remains of how to approach the issue of accident increase and possible rideshare involvement.

Uber and Lyft Future Regulation

For the most part, Uber and Lyft have been able to operate without much interference in the way of regulation for much of the past few years of their rise to power as a dominant force in transportation. Now it seems that regulation is beginning to catch up with the two rideshare companies. They not only have a responsibility to those who may get in an Uber or Lyft accident while using their vehicles but they also have a duty towards the cities they operate and their effect on the increased traffic.

Seek an Experienced Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about receiving a free consultation on your possible claim. Matt Dolman and the lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will sit down with you to discuss the details of your case and provide several options for how you can go about taking legal action. Our skilled lawyers will fight on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Consider Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA as your legal counsel and representation for your personal injury claim. Contact us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices. Please call us at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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