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Does Uber lead to more alcohol consumption?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2020 | OVI |

Even though Uber has only been around Columbus and other Ohio cities for a few years, the ride-sharing service has quickly become one of the most ways for those without cars to get around affordably. That is not to say that Uber and Lyft are not used by people who motor vehicles.

For many, the ride-sharing services are especially convenient after a night out with friends. Using Uber after an evening of clubbing can mean that you and your passengers will get home safely and that no police car will light up behind you to administer a roadside sobriety test and possibly make a drunk driving arrest.

New research suggests that there might be a downside to that safety and convenience, however.

Ridesharing and binge drinking

A recent study says ridesharing services such as Uber are contributing to a rise in alcohol consumption. Researchers at the University of Louisville and Georgia State University say ride-sharing services (and Uber is by far the biggest) are encouraging late-night and binge drinking.

Using self-reported data on alcohol intake from the Centers for Disease Control, researchers looked at cities where Uber is available to see if the service affected consumption.

They found that in those Uber cities, there was an average of a 3 percent increase in drinking days per month, along with a 5 percent increase in the number of drinks consumed in one sitting. Researchers also found a 9 percent increase in heavy drinking in those Uber-connected cities.

Here’s what the CDC considers a “drink”:

  • 12 ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol content)
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol content)
  • 1.5 ounces liquor/distilled spirits (40 percent alcohol content)

The agency considers excessive drinking to be five or more drinks on a single occasion for me and four or more drinks on a single occasion for women.

Heavy drinking is for men 15 or more drinks in a week; eight or more drinks per week for women.

In places where public transportation is not particularly effective, ride-sharing had a greater impact, the researchers said, with an increase in binge drinking of 18 to 22 percent.

If you are facing the possibility of harsh punishments after an OVI-DUI-DWI arrest, contact an attorney experienced in drunk driving defense.


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