WEBWIRE – Friday, February 3, 2023
Uber is committed to standing for safety and using our scale to impact change. As shown in our most recent US Safety Report, Ubers motor vehicle fatality rate in the US is half the national average. The investments weve made in road safety technology, education, and standards and procedures are working. But we are not immune to the national trends on our roadways, and our work on safety is never done.
Roadway fatalities have been on the rise in the United States, reaching record highs during the pandemic, even as most other countries numbers decreased. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2021, a 10.5% increase from the year before.
Reversing these deadly trends will take action from a broad coalition of stakeholders, including government, advocacy organizations, and private companies. Uber is proud to join this coalition on the first anniversary of the National Roadway Safety Strategy as a First Mover of the US Department of Transportations Call to Action campaign for road safety.
As part of the campaign, we commit to the following actions:
Supporting Vision Zero and aligning with the Safe System Approach
In 2021, Uber proudly joined advocates in calling for a national-level commitment to Vision Zeroa strategy with the goal of no traffic fatalities in the US. In partnership with the Vision Zero Network, Families for Safe Streets, and other advocates, we will support city leaders and community advocates in helping them reach their Vision Zero goals.
Advancing Vision Zero means taking a comprehensive and systematic approach to roadway safety. This starts with embracing the Safe System Approach, a human-centered and holistic view of road safety that focuses on safer roadways, speeds, vehicles, and people. Going forward, Uber will align our road safety efforts even more closely with Vision Zero by integrating Safe System principles into our product road map and supporting expert research and advocacy that addresses the root causes of unsafe streets.
We should not accept the US falling behind on roadway safety, says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the nonprofit Vision Zero Network. Everyone deserves to move around their communities safely, whether theyre walking, biking, driving, or riding transit. Private-sector companies, including Uber, are critical in helping to advance Vision Zero. Given their scale of operations, ability to communicate with millions of riders and drivers, and data-driven tech interventions, Uber is uniquely positioned to help address this national crisis on our streets. We look forward to our continued partnership promoting safe streets for all.
Deepening our commitment to drunk-driving prevention
Independent research shows Ubers direct role in reducing drunk driving and alcohol-related traffic fatalities nationwide. One study found that Uber saved 214 lives in 2019, or a reduction of approximately 6.1%.
This year we will dedicate $500,000 toward impaired-driving prevention efforts in 5 states with high drunk-driving fatality numbers according to NHTSA data: Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas. This investment will go toward free and discounted rides, local partnerships, and expanding our Decide to Ride coalition with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Anheuser-Busch.
Ubers role in reducing drunk driving is proven and underscores what we already know: there is never an excuse to get behind the wheel impaired, especially with so many transportation alternatives available, says Jonathan Adkins, Chief Executive Officer of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). We commend Uber for their continued investment in reducing drunk driving and for targeting their efforts in states throughout the country.
To end drunk and drugged driving, it takes more than just a single organization, but a coalition of like-minded companies, like Uber and Anheuser-Busch, members of the Decide to Ride coalition, says MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart. We are proud to be working with Uber to support programs that prevent alcohol-related traffic fatalities and to work toward a world with no more victims of impaired driving.
Focusing on vulnerable road user safety
In 2021, bike and pedestrian fatalities in the US rose 5% and 13%, respectively, and 2022 projections show a continued increase, according to NHTSA data. Uber has a history of investing in bicycle and pedestrian safety products and partnerships, including teaching riders the Dutch Reach and launching Bicycle Friendly Driver and pedestrian safety education for drivers.
This month, well roll out additional bike safety features in the US:
- Bike lane alerts: In 2019, we launched bike lane alerts, which remind riders to look for people on bikes before opening the door when their dropoff point is near a bike lane or along a bike route. To date, we have sent more than 100 million notifications in 71 cities. Were now expanding this feature to 73 new cities across the country.
- Bike safety checklist: Uber will begin sending a bike safety checklist to couriers who deliver by bike before they ride. Based on safety guidance from GHSA, the checklist provides tips on key safety issues such as helmet protection, following traffic laws, and staying visible.
We applaud Uber for their continued investments in the safety of people biking, says Bill Nesper, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. With more and more people biking, its critical that all road users know how to navigate the streets safely and avoid crashes. Were proud to have partnered with Uber to enhance our Bicycle Friendly Driver education and are pleased to see their bike lane alerts rolling out to even more cities.
These new commitments build on Ubers existing investments in road safety, including recently launched rider seat belt reminders, expanded crash detection, and safer routing through left turn reductions and intersection alerts.
Were proud of the investments weve made in road safety and the impact weve had on improving the safety of our users. But we know that tech interventions and education alone wont solve this national crisis. We operate on the same streets as everyone else, and were committed to helping to make those streets safer for everyone. Were energized by USDOTs Call to Action and urge other stakeholders across the country to join the movement for safer streets.
Written byKristin Smith, Head of Road Safety Policy