Uber Fuels Heavy Alcohol Consumption
New research shows the emergence of Uber fuels heavy alcohol consumption in the United States.
Three economists, Jacob Burgdorf and Conor Lennon of the University of Louisville, and Keith Teltser of Georgia State University – have found in a new study that the popularity of ride-sharing apps such as Uber has increased heavy alcohol use.
According to their study, since Uber was introduced,
- Overall alcohol consumption increased by 3%,
- Binge alcohol use grew by 8%, and
- Heavy alcohol use increased by 9%.
They also found that heavy alcohol use was decreasing before the arrival of Uber, which goes to show the impact the app has had on behaviour.
While it is good that people choose not to drive under the influence of alcohol, it is also true that Uber has increased levels of alcohol consumption. Specifically, heavy alcohol use. This is a serious setback for public health and safety since increased alcohol consumption means increased harm and disease burden – which fuels a host of other social, economic and sustainability issues.
Having access to a ride service means people consume more alcohol, knowing they do not have to drive afterwards. This new evidence highlights the problems linked to the alcohol industry’s designated driver programs.
It is important to address this new trend and increase awareness of the harms of alcohol use beyond road accidents.