District Attorney study finds rideshare service correlates to decline in DUIs and arrests in massachusetts cities

DUI arrests dropped in Boston, Worcester, and Northampton after broad introduction of Uber, Lyft

BOSTON, MA – August 22, 2023 – The introduction of rideshare platforms in three major Massachusetts communities correlated with a decrease in DUI incidents or arrests, according to a new study conducted for the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA).

The study investigated the relationship between Lyft and Uber rideshare volume and DUI incidents and arrests in Boston, Worcester, and Northampton. Results showed:

  • Boston: A 46.9% reduction in DUI incidents or arrests in the years following the broad introduction of rideshare (i.e., 2013 – 2019)
  • Worcester: A 52.9% reduction in DUI incidents or arrests in the years following the broad introduction of ridesharing (i.e., 2014 – 2019); and
  • Northampton: A 39.4% reduction in DUI incidents or arrests in the years following the broad introduction of ridesharing (i.e., 2015 – 2019).

“As a driver, I take the responsibility to get passengers home very seriously and I know there are people out there who rely on me to get home safely,” said Luis Ramos, a rideshare driver from Worcester, who has been driving with these companies for almost 7 years. “I make the decision to drive primarily at night because I know there is a need for passengers looking to make responsible decisions.”

The independent study was conducted by Casanova Powell Consulting and Dr. Ryan C. Smith on behalf of NDAA. The researchers looked at publicly available data on DUI incidents or arrests to examine changes in impaired driving outcomes with the introduction of ridesharing. Trends in DUI outcomes before and after the broad introduction of Lyft and Uber ridesharing were examined to provide a comprehensive look at the relationship between impaired driving and rideshare implementation. At no point was either company involved in the independent analysis.

This is just the latest study that shows the impact that Uber has on impaired driving in communities. Another independent study showed that Uber helped reduce drunk driving fatalities by six percent, equating to nearly 214 lives saved in 2019 alone.

“The unique nature of rideshare ensures an availability, both geographically and timely, that has helped to take drunk drivers off the road and improved public safety,” said Conor Yunits, spokesperson for Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers 2024 (FAB). “The data in this report shows that rideshare can help keep people safe – but not if we tear it down to appease the minority opinions belonging to special interests. Broad access to these services across the Commonwealth depends on drivers’ flexibility to control when, where, and how often they drive.”

Despite rideshare’s positive impact on public safety, the future for drivers is clouded by uncertainty. A lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General could re-classify drivers as employees instead of independent contractors under Massachusetts labor laws, at the expense of their flexibility. Meanwhile, organized labor continues to push at the State House to force drivers into employment and strip away their independence. But it is that very flexibility and independence that ensures that drivers are available all over the state at all times of day or night.  

“Rideshare drivers help restaurants and improve public safety by getting patrons home safely after a nice meal or a late night out,” Worcester restaurateur Johnny Piccolo wrote recently in a Telegram & Gazette guest essay. Taking away drivers’ flexibility, Piccolo continued, “could also effectively cap the number of drivers in the future, and severely limit them in places outside of Boston.”

FAB recently launched a new ballot effort that would ensure drivers can continue to drive when, how often, for however long, and with however many companies as they want, while adding new benefits supported by 85% of Massachusetts drivers.

The FAB ballot measure is supported by a fast-growing coalition of drivers and allies of Flexibility and Benefits for Massachusetts Drivers. Learn more about yesformassdrivers.org.