I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve never used an Uber. I know, shocking. But they don’t have them where I live (yet) and I’m not in London very often. The concept seems pretty cool though, and plenty of people DO use them.
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Even if you’re not a regular user, the chances are you’ve at least drunkenly stumbled out of the back of an Uber at 4am on a Wednesday morning. And honestly, if you have, you’re a fantastic human being. Give yourself a pat on the back. Because according to new statistics, people like you have helped see drink driving statistics in our capital plummet in the 4 years since Uber has been operating in London.
This chart shows the number of arrests for drink driving each year since 2012:
As you’ll undoubtedly notice from this graphic, there’s been a big change over the period shown. Now, admittedly drink driving cases have gradually been decreasing in the city since the 70s – likely as a result of anti-drink driving campaigns by the Department of Transport – but the rate at which they’re falling has drastically risen since 2012.
This is in direct correlation with a 26 per cent rise in private vehicle hire in London between 2013 and 2015, and an 850 per cent increase in user sign-ups for Uber in 2014. Similarly, as the popularity of Uber has exploded (particularly over the last year), the rate at which drink driving incidents have decreased has responded accordingly.
Similar effects have also been observed worldwide, with the introduction of Uber in San Francisco also leading to a reduction in alcohol related driving felonies, which seems to support the theory.
If you do end up drunk in an Uber though, maybe try not to attack the driver. Otherwise he might blast you straight in the eyeballs with his pepper spray.