By: Queen Muse

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Companies connecting riders with drivers may be to thank for a recent decrease in drunk driving in Philadelphia.

A local tech officer, Nate Good, looked at data from Philadelphia’s Uniform Crime Reporting system and found a decrease in reports of people driving under the influence in the city. The decrease in DUI’s coincided with the introduction of ride share services like Uber and Side Car.

According to Good’s analysis of the data, the average number of DUI’s per month in Philadelphia decreased by 11 percent between April and December, 2013; the number of DUI’s among drivers under the age of 30 saw an even higher decrease of 18.5 percent.

Three major ride share services, Uber Black, Side Car, and UberX had begun operating in the city during the same months. The companies provide technology that allows riders to request and pay for transportation using cellular phone applications.

 A spokesman for Uber, Taylor Bennett, said a reduction in drunk driving in cities across the country is an unintended but welcomed benefit of the company’s ride share services.

“Uber started really just to connect riders and drivers. A byproduct of that, as we’ve seen, are these incredible social and economic impacts that we’re seeing in different cities,” he said.

“It’s a very seamless and convenient way to get transportation on demand. You don’t have to go stand on a corner at two in the morning waiting for a taxi and fumbling around for cash.”

Bennett suggested that ride share services may also contribute to a reduction in taxi cab related crimes and robberies.

Earlier this month, Uber launched a campaign with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Through the partnership, Uber will donate $1 to MADD for every ride taken with the company in an effort to prevent drunk driving.

Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick said the company’s services directly contributed to a decrease in drunk driving in Seattle.

“For years we have heard anecdotally that riders rely on Uber instead of drinking and driving – and now we’re able to measure the impact that choice has on DUI rates,” Kalanick said in a recent press release.

“Our analysis in Seattle shows a 10-percent reduction in DUI rates since Uber entered the market, and we are excited for the ways this partnership will continue to spread the word about the importance of making a safe choice – and taking Uber.”

MADD National President Jan Withers cited Uber as an “easy, reliable and affordable” alternative to driving impaired.

Uber plans to release an analysis of the company’s impact on drunk driving in Philly later this week.

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