Every year in Australia hundreds of people are killed in car crashes that involve a drunk driver, and 30 to 40 per cent of global road deaths are caused by alcohol, according to the World Health Organisation. As could be expected, most alcohol related incidents happen late at night, over the weekend.
It turns out (unsurprisingly) when faced with a reliable alternative, people are less likely to drink and drive after a dinner or night out. With non-existent or severely limited public transport at the highest-risk times, access to ridesharing services (not just Taxis) has now been shown to result in fewer drunk driving deaths.
According to Uber, "rush hour" for the service isn't first thing in the morning or at the end of the day when people are getting to and from work — but late on a Friday or Saturday night when bars close.
In the last three months alone, over 200,000 Sydneysiders have used ridesharing to get home after a night out at the weekend.
In fact, in Sydney a much higher proportion of Uber trips on Friday and Saturday nights are requested within 25 metres of a licensed venue, than trips requested from elsewhere in the city.
This trend is reflected in cities across the country.
"Ridesharing services like Uber are changing the way people think about drinking and driving," Uber says. "By providing a ride home at the push of a button, anytime, anywhere, ridesharing is helping make our cities better connected, easier and safer places to get around."
In California, for example, a Temple University study found cities where Uber operates have 3.6 to 5.6 per cent fewer drunk driving deaths than cities without access to ridesharing.
In light of this evidence, Uber is collaborating with DrinkWise Australia to raise awareness of responsible drinking and the importance of increasing access to reliable and affordable transport late at night in our cities.
"Ridesharing plays an important role in ensuring people get home safely," said John Scott, CEO of DrinkWise Australia. "It's reassuring to see patrons of Sydney's bars, clubs and restaurants are leaving their car keys at home and making responsible choices."