When Uber released a study earlier this year produced with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, taking credit for a decline in drunken driving-related car crashes among drivers under 30, it was called out for not producing enough evidence to make the connection.
But now comes a study from researchers at Philadelphia's Temple University that suggests the entry of Uber's low-cost ride service, Uber X, into 14 California counties led to a 3.6 to 5.6 percent decline in drunken driving deaths.
Brad Greenwood, an assistant professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business, got the idea for the study after he'd had a little too much to drink at a friend's wedding and decided to take Uber home. His research was conducted independent of Uber, although Greenwood says he's discussed the findings with company officials.
Greenwood and his colleague Sunil Wattal, also an associate professor at Temple University, analyzed data from the California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System from 2009 to 2014.
That data told them the number of crashes that happened in each county along with "blood alcohol content of the driver (i.e. if alcohol was involved), the number of parties involved, weather, speed, and other environmental factors," according to the study.