When rideshare services like Uber and Lyft first became popular around 2010, they changed how many individuals were transported in cities and towns on a daily basis. Instead of walking or taking public transportation, people starting using ridesharing apps to order rides. While passengers have generally benefited from the services, there are significant costs associated with ridesharing. Among those costs is an increase in the loss of human life – particularly in big cities.
Economists associated with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business published a study called “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities.” According to that study, ridesharing is associated with an increase of two to three percent of fatal traffic accidents and car accident fatalities. This includes vehicle occupants, pedestrians, cyclists, and bystanders.
The study used rollout data from Uber and Lyft’s services in every city with a population of at least 10,000 in conjunction with accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The rate of fatal accidents, which had reached a historic low in 2010, has been on the uptick since the app-based rides were introduced. While rural areas saw little effect on their traffic fatality numbers, denser cities saw a significant impact. Many of the accidents are attributed to the distractions drivers have to deal with – including their GPS systems and picking up and dropping off passengers in dense traffic.
As a result of the increase in accidents, the annual cost associated with the loss of life has increased. Per year, the cost of accident fatalities in human lives ranges from $5.33 billion to $13.24 billion. The study argues that this is the cost of convenience. They could not include estimates for the costs imposed by non-fatal accidents because the data was not available.
Overall, the study suggests ridesharing increases how often roadways are used and how much traffic there is, how many miles vehicles travel each year, gas consumption, annual hours of delays in traffic, and new car registrations.
The economists recognize that the scope of their study is of the short-term consequence. As ridesharing evolves, pooled ride services could increase. This could reduce the number of cars on the road and the number of miles traveled.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a rideshare accident, you may not know where to turn. Our nationwide rideshare accident lawyers help victims and their families all over the country recover from accidents that never should have happened. To learn about your legal rights and options and how you can hold the negligent party accountable for your family’s loss, get in touch with us today. We’ll review your claim and help you determine how best to proceed.