Ridesharing May Help Prevent Drunk Driving Crashes in California

A San Jose Car Accident Lawyer Explains How

The theory that rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber bring down the number of drunk driving crashes in a community got a shot in the arm in a new Columbia University traffic study. A study of crash data discovered that where rideshare services are plentiful, the number of car accidents involving alcohol drops slightly.

An increase of one rideshare trip per square mile was associated with a 0.2% decrease in odds that a crash would involve a drunk driver. This may not seem like much, but in a large city like San Jose or Los Angeles, the numbers can add up fast.

This new research is coming out right before the winter holidays, a time that is frequently marked by serious and fatal impaired driving and drunk driving accidents. In 2019, fatal alcohol-involved crashes killed more than 10,000 people nationwide. About 1,000 of those deaths likely occurred between Christmas and New Year's Day, according to federal data.

Safety advocates are hopeful the findings will remind people to get a sober ride home after holiday celebrations. If someone is feeling impaired by drugs, alcohol, or even fatigue, they may want to contact an Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare service to safely get home.

Severe Injuries are Common in Drunk Driving Crashes

Alcohol-involved accidents are often among the most violent and deadly on the road. Drunk and impaired drivers tend to speed, have slower reaction times, and are more comfortable taking unnecessary risks that put others on the road in danger.

Impaired drivers frequently perform reckless maneuvers such as failure to stay in their own lane, unsafe passing, speeding, failure to yield the right of way, texting and driving, failure to recognize and obey traffic signals, overcorrecting, and driving the wrong way down a street or highway ramp.

Any crash caused by a drunk driver has the potential to result in serious injury or death. Common injuries sustained by crash victims include:

  • Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Severe Head Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
  • Fractured & Broken Bones
  • Facial Trauma
  • Severe Neck Injury
  • Whiplash
  • Herniated Disc, Ruptured Disc, Slipped Disc
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Musculoskeletal Injury (MSD)
  • Emotional Trauma (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Problems Sleeping)

After you're involved in a car accident, you should get checked out by a doctor or some other licensed medical professional as soon as possible (within 72 hours) so that your injuries can be diagnosed and you can receive appropriate medical treatment. Even if you don't think you've been seriously hurt and you have no noticeable pain or symptoms, you can never be too careful when it comes to your health. Whether you visit a doctor, get transported to a hospital, or go to urgent care, it's in your best interest to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car crash. Never try to diagnose yourself.

Recovering Compensation for Your Losses

If you were injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses (damages) from the at-fault driver's auto insurance company. Likewise, if your loved one died in a fatal crash caused by someone else, you have recourse through the civil justice system and may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Crash victims can potentially obtain compensation for things like:

  • Short- and long-term medical expenses and doctor bills
  • Loss of income due to missed time at work
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Replacement services
  • Property damage (e.g., car repairs or replacement)
  • Pain and suffering

Keep in mind that auto insurance companies are financially motivated to pay crash victims as little as possible. That means it's common for insurance adjusters to purposefully delay, dispute, and deny valid injury claims. Insurance companies are also notorious for making quick, lowball settlement offers in the immediate aftermath of a bad crash. They do this because they want to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible—before you learn the true cost of your accident.

Alcohol-Involved Crashes in California by County

While drunk driving crashes are far too common throughout California, some communities in the state experience more accidents than others. For instance, Santa Clara County's fatal drunk driving accident rate is about average, but Merced County's is high.

Here is local data on fatal alcohol-involved accidents and rates (accidents per 100,000 people) as provided by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (2019).

Alameda County: 15 alcohol-related crash deaths — 0.9 fatal drunk driving crashes per 100,000 people

Merced County: 14 crash deaths — 5.04 deaths per 100,000 people

Monterey County:12 — 2.76

Santa Clara County: 34 — 1.76

Santa Cruz County: 6 — 2.2

San Joaquin County: 27 — 3.54

Stanislaus County: 22 — 4

Around the holidays it is important to remember that alcohol-involved accidents are preventable. Make sure to have a sober ride home and encourage others to do the same. That may involve calling a taxi or scheduling a ride with an Uber or Lyft.

Let Us Fight for the Justice and Compensation You Deserve

Unfortunately, ensuring you don't drink and drive may not prevent you from being injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver this holiday season. If that happens, it's important to remember that you have recourse through the civil justice system.

At The Swanson Law Group, our attorneys know how to investigate accidents, build rock-solid cases, and hold negligent drivers accountable for their reckless actions. If you're in the San Jose area and you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, let our law firm fight for every dollar you deserve.

To see how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced San Jose car accident attorney.


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