Could City Car Sharing Schemes Reduce Accidents On Our Roads?

As gas prices and traffic density continue to rise, some individuals are turning to ride sharing programs to get around. Conventional mass transit systems such as buses are slow, offer poor accommodations, and often do not arrive at the rider’s ultimate destination. Taxicabs are expensive if taken both ways on a daily basis. Ride sharing programs split the difference; for a nominal fee, an individual rides to a specific destination with another group of individuals. For the users, it saves money and improves safety over taking public transportation or driving alone. For society, it may help reduce the incidence of traffic collisions.

Fewer Vehicle Miles = Fewer Accidents

As any auto accident attorney Atlanta or New York based will tell you, there are a wide variety of risk factors that affect the probability that one will be involved in a motor vehicle collision. Regardless of one’s age or driving habits, the probability of a collision increases with the number of miles travelled on public roads. With fewer vehicles on the roads, fewer collisions are likely to occur.

This does not mean that fewer individuals will be injured, but only that fewer accidents will occur. Furthermore, emergency resources will be required at a reduced number of collisions and that traffic congestion resulting from collisions will decrease, which will result in an overall net benefit.

Modern Vehicles Can Lead to Fewer Injuries

Ride sharing programs do not remove motorists from the roadways; they simply place them into other vehicles. As a result, an accident that is likely to cause an injury can affect several people at once. On the face of it, an accident with several people in a vehicle may not result in lesser injuries than several independent vehicle accidents with injuries.

However, ride sharing programs tend to involve late-model vans, minivans, and sports-utility vehicles with modern safety features. If motorists traditionally drive smaller or outdated vehicles with minimal safety features, motorists may be safer in a ride-sharing program than in their own vehicles.

Reduced Congestion May Mean Fewer Accidents

The effect of traffic congestion on accident rates has been studied extensively. Some studies indicate that traffic accidents are at their lowest points during periods of moderate congestion. For example, a 1999 study by the AAA Foundation concluded that most traffic accidents increase per vehicle mile at low points of congestion, decrease with moderate congestion, and increase once again with high levels of congestion. Vehicle deaths tend to decrease with higher congestion levels continuously due to the reduction in speed.

Not all studies have similar findings, however; a 2009 study from the Transport Studies Group at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom studied traffic patterns on the M25 motorway and detected no causative effect of traffic congestion on the incidence of vehicle collisions.

Ride sharing programs consolidate several potential motorists in a single vehicle, taking several cars off the road with each vehicle operated. In significant numbers, this can reduce traffic congestion. While the available evidence is mixed, a reduction in traffic congestion from severe to moderate levels may lead to a reduced incidence of motor vehicle collisions. 

Ride sharing programs offer a variety of benefits to the consumer. If city dwellers find that a vehicle is more trouble than it is worth, they need not resort to public transportation or expensive taxis. Modern ride sharing programs offer safe and affordable transportation for those who wish to save money. If such programs continue to increase in popularity in major metropolitan areas, residents may also see a reduction in serious traffic accidents. 

Georgina Clatworthy is a former legal blog editor and now writes consumer orientated articles on various aspects of the U.S legal system. Stokes and Kopitsky, P.A. is an auto accident attorney Atlanta based law firm helping victims of accidents claim damages for their injuries.  As experienced accident lawyers they will help you recover a fair settlement for your injuries whilst ensuring your rights remain fully protected.