FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Uber is taking its ride-hailing app down a new road in an effort to make it smarter, simpler and more fun to use. The redesigned app also will seek to mine personal information stored on smartphones in a change that could raise privacy concerns, even though it will be up to individual users to let Uber peer into their calendars and address books.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
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If you want proof that capitalism can save lives, while big government is great at ruining them, look no further than the ride-sharing debacle in Austin Texas.
Companies that allow you to easily access a ride home via an easy to use app, such as Lyft and Uber chose to discontinue their services in Austin after the city forced drivers to undergo a mandatory fingerprint check that both companies said was unncessary and inefficient.
Due to their departure from the city, cases of drunk driving have already risen sharply according to data from the Austin Police Department.
The Foundation for Economic Education breaks it down for us:
Before Uber came to town in 2014, Austin Police Department’s data showed that the city had an average of 525 drunk driving arrests per month. When these numbers were revisited a year after ridesharing came to Austin, drunk driving arrests had dropped by five percent. This trend continued the following year when the number of drunk driving arrests dropped by an additional 12 percent, bringing the average number of arrests to about 438 per month.
In May of 2016, the same month Uber and Lyft made the decision to leave Austin, the monthly rate of drunk driving incidents was down to an average of 358. However, within the first few months of Uber and Lyft’s absence, the number of DUI arrests increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year. In the month of July alone, the city had 476 drunk driving arrests.
While the APD is hesitant to draw conclusions from such a limited data set, they are concerned with the rise. With Austin being a college/party town, smart money says that the absence of easily accessible rides home is encouraging more drivers to throw caution to the wind, and attempt to get themselves home.
Until further evidence is revealed by more data, we won't officially know if the increase in DUI's have anything to do with the absence of the ride-share heavyweights. However, it should be noted that in cities where Uber and Lyft are allowed to thrive, they experience a 5.6 percent dip in alcohol caused road deaths according to a study by the Philadelphia’s Temple University.
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