Last month, Austin experienced its 15th fatal car crash for 2016. According to the accident report, a 19-year-old was driving drunk with a 20-year-old passenger in the car. The car swerved off of the road near Stassney Lane and smashed into a utility pole. Neither passenger nor driver were wearing seatbelts. The passenger was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
The case is still under investigation. However, the driver was arrested and is being charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Has Drunk Driving Decreased in Austin?
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a person is injured in a drunk driving accident every two minutes and on average, two out of every three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident at some point in their lifetime. The statistics gathered by MADD also show that 27 people die every day in the U.S. due to drunk driving.
However, many publications are showing that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are actually helping to decrease the number of DWIs. An article published in Politifact said DWI crashes actually dropped in Austin by 23 percent since Uber and Lyft entered the city. Though, statisticians from Temple University who are also monitoring DWIs did say correlations don’t necessarily prove causation and the reduction in DWI crashes could be due to a combination of factors.
An article from KVUE detailed how Austin Police Department worked with city officials to bring awareness to both the consequences of driving drunk, as well as the DWI enforcement initiatives that the city implements during the many events that happen in Austin. These initiatives include “no-refusals,” “Arrive Alive” and using the Blood Alcohol Content Bus (BATBUS).
Keep It Up, Austin!
The cause of the decreasing number of DWI crashes may be due to the convenience and cost-efficiency of using ride-sharing services in the Austin area, or it could be due to the city’s ongoing awareness and enforcement initiatives. It may even be a combination of both. Either way, we’re just happy to see the numbers decrease and we hope they continue to do so. While the number of car accidents and population continue to grow, this is one number we’re happy to see decline.