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U.S. Cities with Uber, Lyft See Increase in Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents, Study Says

A new study published by researchers from Rice University and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago suggests cities with ride-share services the likes of Uber and Lyft see a statistical increase in serious and fatal car accidents.

Researchers’ findings, which arrive amid debates among lawmakers in cities nationwide, suggest there may be drawbacks to consider when it comes to ride-share services, newly proposed implementation of congestion pricing in major metro areas, and the overall proliferation of app-based, ride-hailing apps.

Here are a few details about the study:

  • Researchers made their inferences based on data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and crash statistic databases.
  • The study focused on serious and fatal accidents in cities across the U.S. both before and after the arrival of rideshare services. They’re findings suggest fatal accidents increased by 2 to 4 percent each year, even when “other factors” were accounted for and controlled.
  • From an economic perspective, a 3% increase in fatal wrecks (nearly 990 additional lives lost each year) costs the economy anywhere from $5+ billion to $13 billion annually, according to the Department of Transportation’s 2015 Value of a Statistical Life (VSL).
  • Researchers suggest much of the increase in fatal crashes has to do with something known as the “quantity effect” created by the sharing economy. That quantity effect puts more vehicles on the road, increases miles driven and degradation of roads and infrasctrure, and subsequently results in more accidents.
  • Drivers and passengers in rideshare vehicles are not the only people impacted by the increase in fatal wrecks. Researchers also noted a marked impact on the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and others involved in rideshare accidents.

Though the study and its findings are gaining attention, many have made arguments against it. Aside from what Lyft has deemed a “deeply flawed” study, others have pointed to how the use of rideshare services has a type of “quality effect,” particularly when it comes to getting drunk drivers on the road. Researchers, however, counter that the sheer increase in the numbers of rideshare vehicles cancel out any positive trends of such a quality effect.

Arguments and methodology critiques aside, the big picture provided by the study shows a net increase in auto accidents – particularly in the nation’s biggest cities. At a time when cities are closely watching New York’s legislature as it contemplates what would be the nation’s first congestion pricing system, which would impose additional fees upon vehicles that enter the Big Apple’s busiest areas, the study provides additional food for thought to counter the many perceived benefits of ridesharing – from convenience and cost to getting drunk drivers off the road.

Uber & Lyft Accidents: Different Types of Injury Claims

Motor vehicle accident claims involving Uber and Lyft are different from other types of personal injury cases filed by car accident victims. Not only do they involve “newer” types of services, they also introduce a number of issues related to liability and insurance coverage.

Depending on who you were in relation to the crash (i.e. a driver, passenger, or pedestrian) and what the rideshare driver involved was doing at the time (i.e. carrying a passenger, driving to pick one up, or being off the clock entirely), the availability and amount of coverage for a victims’ damages can vary.

What’s more, commercial insurance carriers behind services like Uber and Lyft can be both meticulous and aggressive in protecting their bottom line. Though some situations, such as when passengers in Rideshares are injured, are covered by large insurance policies, there are still many potential hurdles to clear, as well as potential disputes and denials from insurers who care more about profits than people.

Injured? Trust Car Accident Attorneys Serving New Jersey Since 1939

At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our attorneys have represented injured victims and families in personal injury and wrongful death cases across New Jersey since 1939. In those many years, we’ve seen how new technologies and new trends have forced our laws to evolve, both in terms of how they protect consumers, and the steps consumers must take when seeking justice and compensation after suffering preventable harm.

If you have questions about an Uber or Lyft accident anywhere in the state of New Jersey, our legal team is available to review your case at no charge, discuss your rights and options, and explain how we may be able to help. Contact us to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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