Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data comparing commercial accidents with ridesharing accidents. However, you can get a sense of the potential safety levels by looking at other related numbers. Here is what you need to consider.
Are Ridesharing Accidents More Common than Other Commercial Accidents?
Between 2009 and 2017, fatalities with large trucks increased by 30%, and now, over 4,000 people die from these deaths annually. Generally, 68% of the victims are occupants of other vehicles, 17% are truck occupants, and 14% are pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Commercial trucks are involved with 22% of multiple-vehicle accidents and about 12% of all crashes.
In contrast, there aren’t numbers breaking out the percentage of traffic accidents that involve ridesharing services, but the growing number of these vehicles on the road is likely to have a significant impact on accident rates. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of ridesharing drivers in many large cities quadrupled. In New York City alone, these are over 117,000 ridesharing drivers, and on average, these drivers log about 50,000 miles per year.
Based on these numbers, ridesharing drivers are driving about 5.85 billion miles in New York City alone. In contrast, commercial trucks drive a total of 432 billion miles per year around the entire country. Drivers are likely to encounter both of these vehicles on the road, but are they more likely to crash with a ridesharing vehicle or a commercial vehicle? Unfortunately, there aren’t comparable numbers, but there is research illustrating the potential effect ridesharing has on accident rates in cities throughout the country.
Does Ridesharing Increase Accidents?
The rise of ridesharing services has potentially created an increase in traffic accidents. According to a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University, traffic-accident-related deaths have increased by 2 to 3% since 2011 — that’s 1,100 additional traffic-related mortalities per year. Prior to ridesharing services becoming popular, traffic deaths had fallen to their lowest number since 1949.
However, a study from the Cato Institute, done by researchers from Western Carolina University and published in the Southern Economic Journal, indicates the opposite effect. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these researchers found that fatal accidents decline by about 1.6% after the introduction of Uber, and in particular, alcohol-related and nighttime crashes decrease in areas with ridesharing services. The researchers also noted a 0.8% decline per month, in arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and similar declines in several other types of crime.
The above numbers don’t necessarily indicate that traveling with a ridesharing service is any more or less dangerous than riding in a taxi, on a bus, or in your own car. Instead, these numbers indicate the overall impact that ridesharing services are having on cities.
How Does Ridesharing Affect Cities?
In general, ridesharing services increase congestion, and the extra traffic levels lead to more accidents. When ridesharing services launch in an area, its residents begin using public transit less frequently. At the same time, ridesharing drivers spend a lot of time prowling the roads waiting for fares. On average, these drivers spend 40 to 60% of their time without a fare, and they drive an average of 2.8 miles between fares.
How Does Ridesharing Affect Massachusetts?
Like much of the rest of the world, Massachusetts residents have quickly embraced ridesharing services. Uber launched its services in Massachusetts in 2011. In the first four years in the city, the service gave 28 million rides to 1.75 million people. Those rides added up to 115 million miles, and of course, that doesn’t take into account the miles driven between fares. On Friday and Saturday nights in Boston alone, the service manages about 70,000 journeys, and when people need a professional driver, 45% hire a ride sharing service, 32% get a taxi, and 23% use a rental car.
Has Ridesharing Increased Accident Rates?
While ridesharing services have grown in popularity, accident and fatality rates around the state have also increased. From 2015 to 2016, Massachusetts had a 20% increase in motor vehicle fatalities. In Boston, driving is even more dangerous. Boston is ranked last in a list of 200 most dangerous cities for driving in the United States. On average, Bostonians are in an accident every three years, and in general, the average is 10 years. In other words, your risk of being in an accident is 157.7% more likely if you are driving in Boston, but it isn’t clear whether you are more likely to be in an accident with a commercial vehicle or a ridesharing service.
Analysts linked the increase in accidents to more distracted drivers and to lower gas prices drawing more drivers onto the roads. However, the above cited research from the University of Chicago and Rice University indicates that the increase in fatalities may actually be linked to ridesharing services as well as to these other culprits.
Whether ridesharing has a positive or negative impact on traffic safety is still being determined. However, if you are in an accident, these stats and numbers don’t matter. Instead of getting bogged down in the numbers, you need to be focused on your own journey toward health and healing. After an accident, you may face medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and countless other damages, and that can be stressful to manage on your own.
You need an accident attorney who can help you fight for your rights. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we help clients who have been affected by accidents with commercial vehicles and ridesharing services. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us today.