New technology can help keep us safe over the holidays and on the road.
For the last three decades, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and its allies have worked tirelessly from every angle to attack the crisis of drunk driving, which killed more than 10,000 and injured 290,000 in 2010 alone.
It's hard to imagine that at the time of MADD's formation in 1980, there wasn't a single national standard for a minimum drinking age or blood alcohol content. Now, drunk driving fatalities have been cut in halfsince MADD's founding. Most recently, MADD has successfully campaigned in four states for legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers — soon bringing the total to 24 states with this life saving law.
But drunk driving still accounts for almost one-third of all traffic deaths.
Thankfully, the network of partners working to educate people about this deadly crime continues to grow. Uber Technologies is proud to be part of the solution. Uber's revolutionary app connects users with safe, reliable rides at the touch of a button. Those are rides you can count on, whenever and wherever, so that people never have to get behind the wheel drunk.
After all, the easier it is to get a safe ride, the less likely adults are to drive after drinking.
A safe, sober ride available on demand is seminal. It means that parents can take Uber to and from date night without having to get behind the wheel and they can send their babysitter home safely. It means that friends can split the fare of an Uber ride, making it even cheaper and more convenient than paying for gas and parking.
What's especially encouraging is the impact Uber has already had on drunk driving, which is significant and meaningful. According to Uber's analysis, DUI arrests in Seattle decreased by more than 10% after Uber started serving riders and drivers in the city. We expect that kind of change is happening in cities around the world, and it's the kind of progress that provides great hope for the next phase in the effort to end drunk driving.
The bottom line? Technology is making our streets and our cities safer. And that's especially important on holiday weekends like this.
This July Fourth, Americans will celebrate our nation's independence in parades, parties and pageantry. But holidays bring more danger to American drivers: every year, drunk driving-related arrests and deaths spike on July Fourth. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 44% of traffic fatalities over the holiday in 2012 were drunk driving related.
Those deaths were 100% preventable. And they're the reason Uber and MADD are teaming up this July Fourth to launch the #UberMADD partnership, a joint effort to end drunk driving and invest in safer communities. To kick off our efforts, Uber will donate to MADD $1 for every ride taken and $10 for every new rider in the United States between 6 a.m. local time on July 4 and 6 a.m. local time on July 5 when the rider uses the promotion code "UberMADD." And our ongoing partnership will include regional educational campaigns throughout the year to encourage adults to choose a safe way home if they're going to drink.
We hope Americans across the country will help us spread the word and support this life-saving campaign by using #UberMADD. Today Uber serves nearly 150 million Americans, with an average pickup time of 5 minutes. As Uber launches new cities and expands service within existing cities, we look forward to what the future has in store as we join forces to combat drunk driving.
Travis Kalanick is co-founder and CEO of Uber Technologies, and Jan Withers is president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
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