Common Sense Health: Sharing a Ride Can Help Health and Safety | Arts and life


We all hope for a breakthrough in cancer treatment. Fortunately, scientists are making progress in the fight against this disease and many other devastating diseases. But on occasion, an innovation well outside the healthcare industry can make a big difference in life or death. And is there any such innovation that older people lack?

New research shows that the introduction of carpooling services has significantly reduced trauma from car accidents. This is not the first study of its kind, but it adds to a growing collection of studies with results that allow for better planning and decision-making.

Rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft and about 88 other competitors around the world, have been in business for about a decade. The business model that relies on web applications and mobile application technology has proliferated in almost every major city in the world.

Since the first studies were conducted to measure the impact of carpooling services on human health, the results have been mixed. The great hope, of course, has been to reduce cases of impaired driving. The first studies were inconclusive.

But with the passage of time and the growth of available data, studies from New York to San Francisco have taken a more detailed analysis, looking not only at fatal traffic accidents, but also taking into account rates of tourism, access to public transport and the timing of carpooling and alcohol-related accidents.

Another objective is consumer behavior. Uber, the world’s largest company, reports that nearly 80% of passengers say they’ve avoided driving while intoxicated at least once thanks to the service.

What does the latest research show? A recently published study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas and published in JAMA Surgery, used data on hospital trauma, carpool volume and impaired driving convictions to compare the 7-year period before the introduction of Uber with a comparable set of years after Uber. introduction. This was data on more than 24 million Uber trips. They found a 23.8% decrease in motor vehicle crash injuries. What is most interesting is that this decrease was measured during periods of peak trauma (Friday and Saturday evening).

This makes sense, because this is when the younger population of carpooling users are heading towards socializing. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the best math for city managers who quickly grant permits to turn outdoor spaces into dining terraces and sidewalk bars. Promoting carpooling programs will help anyone with pent-up enthusiasm for social consumption get home safe and sound.

But who could still benefit from these benefits of carpooling programs? Research shows that older people are unaware of how carpooling works. The process of flagging down a ride with their smartphones presents a technological chasm that is not being bridged. Additionally, research has revealed that they are particularly concerned about the safety of accepting a ride from an unknown carpool driver.

Therefore, older people tend to drive their own cars or not go out, which may not be in their best interests.

Will the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles make a difference? Maybe not for the fussy elderly. But driverless cars will solve one of the concerns about ridesharing programs – distracted ride-sharing drivers looking at their phones for information.

As we move more and more daringly into the post-pandemic era, wouldn’t it be nice if we could harness more innovations like carpooling to make the world a healthier place?

Where’s the next big breakthrough?

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Harvard Medical School. For more than 40 years, he specialized in gynecology, devoting his practice to the formative issues of women’s health.


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