Study: Ridesharing apps are causing an increase in fatal accidents

Ridesharing apps may be causing an increase in accidents due to distracted driving and increased traffic.

A recent study by researchers from Rice University and the University of Chicago School of Business is throwing cold water on the theory that ridesharing apps improve traffic safety. As the Chicago Tribune reports, that study contends that while ridesharing may decrease the number of drunk drivers on the road, it also leads to an increase in overall traffic, distracted driving, and reckless driving. As a result, ridesharing apps, rather than making the streets safer, have actually caused an increase in fatal car accidents in cities since they were introduced, the study concludes.

Fatal accidents increase in cities

The purpose of the study was to find out what impact ridesharing services are having on overall traffic safety. Ridesharing companies often claim that their services improve safety because they help get drunk drivers off the street, especially in areas where taxis and public transit may be limited. The researchers themselves admitted that they expected their study to prove that ridesharing apps do increase safety.

However, after analyzing accident data in cities before and after they introduced ridesharing services, the researchers found that ridesharing apps were actually leading to an increase in fatal traffic accidents. As Forbes reports, the data showed that after ridesharing apps were introduced, fatal traffic accidents increased by two to four percent each year, leading to an estimated $10 billion in economic damages across the U.S.

Safety gains cancelled out by risks

While the researchers conceded that ridesharing apps do help get drunk drivers off the streets, they said that such apps also encourage many other types of dangerous driving behaviors. Rideshare drivers, for example, are more likely to be checking their phones while driving, be driving down streets they are unfamiliar with, and stopping in traffic to drop off or pick up passengers, all of which can increase the likelihood of an accident.

Furthermore, ridesharing apps also increase overall traffic, both because they get people to take cars who would have otherwise biked or taken public transit and because for ridesharing services to work properly they need available vehicles driving around at all times. As a result of this increase in traffic, there is an increase in total vehicle miles travelled overall and thus an increase in the opportunities for accidents to happen.

Getting help after an accident

Being hurt in an accident can be a traumatic and painful experience, not only physically and emotionally, but financially, too. Anybody who has been injured in a traffic accident should contact a personal injury attorney for assistance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help clients pursue whatever compensation they may be entitled to after a devastating accident.