Sciencemag.org reported on a recent study conducted by economists who suggest that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have raised the death tolls on America’s roads by 2 to 3 percent during a five-year period from 2011 to 2016.Critics of the study cast doubt on the accuracy of the findings. Perhaps stating the obvious, but Uber and Lyft adamantly denies the accusations leveled by the economists.
The economists noted that the proliferation of ride-sharingservices correlated with an increase in the number of deaths in vehicle accidents. Statistical analysis also showed that more gas was consumed, more cars were on the road, and traffic increased as well when ride-sharingbecame popular. The economists themselves caution that their findings are not the exclusive cause of the rising rate of vehicular deaths. There is no coincidence, however, that traffic deaths decreased precipitously until 2011 when ridesharing gained a foothold in changing how people get around.
The researchers found that once a city permitted ride sharing, then the number of fatal accidents increased in that municipality. The analysts observed that the death toll went up in very large cities that have a large population and the more impoverished cities as ride sharing grows. The economists speculate that people who once took public transportation chose Uber or Lyft for travel.
Critics disagree. Uber and Lyft both said that their services increase safety, especially drunk driving. The companies also added that they pride themselves on providing safe and reliable transportation for their customers.
Skeptics of the reliability of the study are quick to point out that the death rates have increased in all areas and not just in cities. Rural areas, which often do not offer ride-sharingservices, have also seen an increase in roadway fatalities.
The point made by the economists by engaging in this study was to encourage a more in-depth examination of how ride share services affect our roads.
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