Before Uber and Lyft started operating in cities across the U.S., fatal car accidents were at record low levels. However in the 2019 University of Chicago Booth School of Business study, researchers found that ridesharing has led to a three percent increase in the number of fatal accidents and fatalities.
Using spread out rideshare roll-out dates from Uber and Lyft, the researchers examined the two years before and after rideshare adoption in U.S. cities from 2001 to 2016. In 2010, the number of U.S. traffic fatalities was 32,885, its lowest level in 50 years. However, with the introduction of rideshare services, the number rose to more than 37,400 in 2016, roughly a 3 percent annual increase in deaths nationwide.
Why is Ridesharing Leading to More Fatalities?
There are likely many reasons for the rise in traffic fatalities spurred by Uber and Lyft. Ridesharing has resulted in more vehicles on the nation’s roads, leading to more accidents, injuries, and fatalities of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists.
According to the study, the most dramatic increase in collisions happened in large metropolitan areas, which also experienced an increase in new car registrations when ridesharing became popular, in spite of the availability of public transportation options. Because Uber and Lyft need to keep large numbers of vehicles on the roads to expedite service to customers, the companies subsidize drivers to ensure that they will stay on the road between fares. As a result, drivers are often traveling alone in their quest for riders, leading to more cars on the road than previously.
Although the study authors concur that the benefits of ridesharing – more inexpensive transportation options, more carpooling alternatives for riders, and increased job opportunities for drivers – they also pointed out that “the annual cost in human lives is nontrivial.”
If you have been badly injured while using a rideshare service, reach out to our attorneys to help you figure out what comes next. Attorney Ashley Spires of Childers, Schlueter, & Smith might be able to help. Give us a call. You can also read more about rideshare compensation right here on our website.