Drunken driving crashes in Michigan have decreased by nearly 50 percent over about two decades, according to numbers from the Michigan State Police.
In 1999, there were more than 18,000 crashes involving drunken drivers. That number decreased to 14,500 in 2004 and to about 11,000 in 2008. By 2018, the number of drunken driving related crashes decreased to fewer than 10,000, to 9,786 crashes.
In 2018, crashes involving deer were about five times higher than crashes involving drunken drivers.
Despite the data, some remain unaware that the dangers of being hit on the road by someone who over-imbibed is in sharp decline. In late May, a Detroit transit guide tweeted that the nearly 10,000 drunken driving crashes in 2018 occurred because people choose to drive home instead of Uber or Lyft because they do not want to leave their car stranded. Because of this, the guide argued that the state needs to provide more funding for public transit.
10,000 crashes involved alcohol in 2018. Many people choose to drive home instead of Uber/Lyft because leaving their car strands them at home in the morning. If we had better public transit, fewer people would be driving drunk. They could take transit to & from bars/restaurants. https://t.co/4dOSLbHthQ— Transit Guide: Detroit (@SEMittenTransit) May 22, 2019
However, several studies have shown that Uber and Lyft are actually strongly correlated with fewer cases of drunken driving.
A 2017 University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine study of the impact of Uber and Lyft in four major U.S. cities found that access to the app decreased DUIs by about 60 percent in Portland, Oregon and San Antonio, Texas. There was not a substantial decrease in Reno or Las Vegas in Nevada, but researchers said that may be related to the amount of drinking and tourists in the area. A study by Moll Law Group studied 10 U.S. cities before and after the launch of Uber and Lyft and found that the cities had fewer DUI arrests.
Jeff Cranson, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said he could not comment on drunken driving numbers. But he said that the department is supportive of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to increase transportation spending.
“The governor’s proposed budget with $2.5 billion in additional revenue for roads would dedicate [three] percent of that new revenue to transit and other multi-modal initiatives,” Cranson said. “Michigan’s road funding statute, Act 51, requires that [nine] percent of state funds for transportation (raised through fuel taxes and registration fees) go to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund – primarily rail and transit.”
“So the governor’s plan would be a significant boost to transit systems across the state, including Detroit,” Cranson said.