For example, the ride-sharing pioneer Uber reported earlier this year that since the company began offering its services in the city of Seattle, the number of DUI arrests plunged by more than 10%. Ride-sharing is when regular vehicle owners - as opposed to taxicab drivers - offer to provide rides to people in exchange for a fee. Uber touts its service as an additional option for people who have consumed too much alcohol and wish to be driven home by someone else.
Interestingly, a detective for SPD reportedly questioned whether Uber had anything to do with the drop in DUI arrests in Seattle.
Drew Fowler reportedly told a Los Angeles radio station that though Uber may have been a factor, he's not sure that "proving the veracity of that is going to be very easy to do."
The same phenomenon is happening in other cities as well. Since Uber and competitor Lyft began operating in Los Angeles in April 2012, DUI arrests have fallen. But an LAPD lieutenant declined to credit ride-sharing, noting that many different factors could have caused the decrease. And according to the Washington Post, in San Francisco DUI arrests are down considerably from June of 2010, when Uber (and later other companies) began offering ride-sharing services. Plus the Post says, Philadelphia's average monthly DUI citations dropped by 11 percent between April and December of last year when Uber began transporting customers there.
Are police departments really that small-minded enough to not acknowledge outside factors as contributors to a reduction in DUI cases? Or are these correlations so unreliable that more attention needs to be given to other variables.