Quickly becoming the world’s largest taxi service without owning a single vehicle of their own, Uber (and other car/ride share services) are completely changing the way that we look at “rides for hire” and the entire industry in general.
And while traditional taxi, car service, and limousine companies are more than a little bit upset at the disruption that companies like Uber have caused (and the fact that those same companies have completely destroyed their stranglehold on an antiquated business model in a short block of time), it’s hard to argue with those that consider Uber and Uber-like services the future of this business. This is especially true when they point to the fact that DUI arrest rates have plummeted since these companies started operating.
What if the easiest way to end drunk driving is to end driving in the first place?
This is a question that companies like Uber and Lyft have been asking themselves almost since they first opened up for business, it is a question that they are answering themselves based upon the success that they’ve had dramatically dropping DUI arrest rates in the cities that they are most popular in. According to statistics pulled from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco (amongst other cities where Uber has an expansive presence), the average rate of DUIs has dropped by nearly 26% since 2010 – the very first time Uber offered a ride share in their very first town car.
Other cities (like Boston and Seattle) have noticed even more significant drops in DUI arrest rates, so much so that students in the graduate program at Georgetown are compiling all of the data together to figure out exactly why these rates are dropping – though many of those researchers expect that they already know the answer.
An elegant solution to an inelegant problem
Though there are a significant amount of programs out there specifically targeted at educating drivers to stop driving while under the influence of absolutely ANYTHING, the truth of the matter is many of these programs – programs that have existed for more than a few decades – haven’t had anywhere near the impact that companies like Uber have in a fraction of the time. Traditional cab companies, car services and limousine operators have all complained about the damage that these car/ride share services are doing to their industry, but none of them (NONE of them) have had anywhere near the significant impact on dropping DUI arrest rates that just a handful of disruptive companies have.
Now, there’s obviously something to be said about completely changing the platform of an industry almost overnight in rendering traditional business models (business models that have employed millions and millions of people for decades) nearly obsolete – but that’s what the modern world does.
We are living in one of the fastest pace and quickest moving and adjusting times in human history, and if a couple of eggs have to get broken to make an omelette that finally eliminates drunken-driving forever, is it really such a bad thing?