Rise in serious injuries and deaths linked to ride sharing

Ride sharing has become popular in Indiana and across the U.S. With the advent of Uber and Lyft, it has become trendy to leave the car at home, forget about public transportation and simply press a button on a smartphone to have a vehicle pick up its passengers and take them to their destination. Even though there are obvious benefits to this, there are always caveats with technological and practical advancement.

A recent study indicates that there has been a rise in traffic and traffic fatalities that has coincided with ride sharing. People who are on the road should be aware of this for safety and to avoid serious injuries and wrongful death due to a ride share. In fact, a study from the University of Chicago says there was an estimated 3 percent increase in fatal auto accidents and fatal accidents in general.

In its research, the study centered on the beginning of Uber and Lyft and the eight quarters prior to and after they were used in large cities across the nation between 2001 and 2016. They looked at how much traffic there was, how people decided to get around and the number of accidents. The rise in crashes was consistent and rose as time passed. It stayed largely the same throughout the week regardless of the time of day.

In 2010, the number of road fatalities reached its lowest level in 60 years at slightly fewer than 33,000. By 2016, that rose to more than 37,000. Approximately 987 people died in ride share crashes annually from 2011 onward. And, the cost of these crashes is estimated to reach $10 billion.

With more cars taking to the streets, it is unavoidable that there will be an increase in all types of accidents involving other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Larger cities saw the greatest increase. Since drivers of these ride sharing vehicles might rush to get to a customer -- their pay increases with the number of calls -- it can cause crashes. Distracted drivers are also common as the drivers need to check their devices to find out where they need to go.

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