Even though Canadian roads are considered some of the safest in the world, car accident injuries are one of the leading causes of death in Canada for those aged 5-34 according to Transport Canada. Impaired driving is one of the biggest causes of accidents, death and personal injury due to car crashes in Canada.
Taxis were once a common site throughout cities in Canada, but now you find more and more people standing on street corners holding their phones, staring intently at them and the street and hopping into unmarked cars. Uber and other service like it have become fantastically popular for a number of reasons. They tend to be cheaper than taxis, much quicker to respond, and the passenger can check the driver, the route being taken and the proposed route of the ride all on their phone. Riders and drivers can be rated. The fee is pre-determined which also holds a lot of appeal for people who have had bad experiences with cabs ‘taking them for a ride’ in the past.
There is some new evidence cited in the Economist that the arrival of Uber to New York City has helped reduce impaired driving accidents by as much as 35% which is a fantastic reduction. New York City was the first place in the state that Uber started operating in 2011 and it therefore makes a great case study of impaired driving rates, accidents and death in the State.
The areas of NYC that had the greatest uptake of Uber all saw significantly reduced rates of alcohol related car accidents. The article goes on to note that Staten Island where Uber didn’t catch on as quickly didn’t have the same reduction of impaired driving accidents.
The researcher analysed the data and went on to determine that the quick response times of Uber combined with the inflexible and higher pricing of medallion taxis combine to make Uber a quick and easy alternative. The electronic payment method is also highly attractive for drunk patrons.
It is an interesting phenomenon for sure. Many taxi companies are coming up with their own apps, but cannot compete on the price point with Uber drivers who don’t pay medallions, may not have the same insurance coverage, don’t have the same training or safety screening. It appears though, that most passengers don’t care. They want a quick cheap ride with minimal hassles and Uber is giving it to them.