WASHINGTON – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found a significant reduction in traffic-related trauma cases and drunk driving conviction rates after Uber was introduced in the city of Houston.

The study, “Association of Rideshare Use With Alcohol-Associated Motor Vehicle Crash Trauma,” noted the most dramatic decreases in trauma cases were among men and women under 30 years old.

“This study confirms what MADD has believed for years – that rideshare apps offer a convenient transportation option that helps reduce the risk of drunk driving crashes, especially among younger drivers,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “The more options that are available, the easier it is to make sure that if you drink, don’t drive.”

The study, by McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, reviewed trauma cases at two major trauma centers in Houston – the Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann and Harris Health Ben Taub General Hospital – between January 2007 and November 2019. Researchers also reviewed impaired driving convictions in Harris County, which covers the Houston area, from January 2007 to December 2018. They then compared trauma hospitalization rates and drunk driving conviction rates from 2007 through 2013, before Uber was introduced in Houston, with drunk driving conviction rates and trauma hospitalizations beginning in January 2014.

Among the findings:

  • The number of motor vehicle crash traumas decreased 38.9%, from 866 patients in 2013 to 529 in 2018 in the under-30 age group, while other age groups stayed the same.
  • Prior to January 2014, impaired driving convictions were predominantly from arrests within Houston’s core (inside the Interstate 610 loop), but as the volume of Uber trips inside Houston’s core increased, the rates shifted to outside Houston’s core.
  • Impaired driving convictions trended downward annually beginning in February 2014.
  • The number of impaired driving convictions for offenses on Friday and Saturday nights dropped significantly after January 2014.

“Rideshare volume had a significant negative correlation with the incidence of motor vehicle-associated trauma, and this was most evident in those younger than 30 years; a significant decrease in convictions for impaired driving was associated with the introduction of rideshare services,” the study’s authors wrote.

MADD has partnered with Uber since 2014 to educate the public about safe and convenient options for a non-drinking, sober ride home.

“We knew from the beginning that rideshare apps would help save lives,” Otte said. “Now we have the data to show the effect Uber had in the city of Houston. We believe similar research in other major cities that have a rideshare presence will show the same success in lowering the number of injuries and deaths caused by impaired driving.”

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

Contact: Becky Iannotta, 202.600.2032, becky.iannotta@madd.org