Skip to main content

Uber, MADD, and law enforcement partnered on July 4 in 25 cities

how to delete your uber account
Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock
Did you have good time on the Fourth of July? While the Independence Day holiday weekend is a wonderful time for celebration, unfortunately it’s also the occasion of many traffic deaths. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more deaths in vehicle crashes on July 4  than any other day. And in 2014 alcohol was a factor in almost half of the Independence Day vehicle deaths, according to Uber’s newsroom.

This year Uber partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and local law enforcement agencies in 25 U.S. cities to raise awareness about drunk driving alternatives prior to the holiday weekend. Uber also offered discounted or free rides in the same 25 cities on July 4. And apparently, Uber’s program had a noticeable and positive effect.

Results from all states aren’t yet available, according to Uber, but preliminary reports for California, Chicago, San Antonio, and Virginia indicate those states experienced fewer drunk driving arrests and deaths on this year’s Independence Day. The state of Nevada had particularly significant results, in that for the first time in ten years it experienced no DUI-related deaths.

“Over the 4th of July weekend, Uber partnered with the NV DPS/OTS and NHP in an effort to educate Nevadans about safe transportation alternatives to impaired driving,” said Officer David Gibson of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. “This promotion yielded zero alcohol-related fatal crashes over the 4th of July weekend, the first time in over ten years in Nevada. Part of this success is thanks to our holiday partnership with Uber, which helped spread the message of safe and sober transportation options.”

Uber is going to continue as MADD’s designated-driver partner, based on data that shows significantly more ride requests into the evening of July 4. In surveys, Uber has found that more than 80 percent of its riders have reported that Uber helps them avoid drunk driving. In this case, it appears that an awareness program may be making a noticeable difference in keeping our roads safer.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
EV vs. PHEV vs. hybrid: What’s the difference?
BMW X5 PHEV charge port

When sizing up options for your next car, you may be figuring out whether to get an electric vehicle, only to discover there are a bunch of variations to consider -- not just hybrids, but plug-in hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles are just some of the other categories. The depths of EV jargon run so deep that we wrote an entire EV glossary, but for now let's zero in on the difference between electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. These options blend old tech and new tech in a way that's often practical, cheaper than an EV, and still more efficient than an old-school gasoline car.
What is an electric vehicle?
An electric vehicle skips the internal combustion engine found in most traditional cars in favor of an electric motor. This allows EVs to operate without needing gasoline. Instead, they're powered by an electric battery that will need to be charged regularly, either at your home or at a charging station like a Tesla Supercharger. The Ford Mach-E, Kia EV6, and Rivian R1S are all popular examples of modern EVs.

The electric motor works by way of a rotating magnetic field. Inside the motor, three electromagnets surround a free-floating rotor, which spins based on which magnet is attracting it most. That rotor in turn produces power to the wheels of the car and pushes it forward and backward. Regenerative braking reverses the relationship and turns motion into electricity. While you're slowing to a stop, the force of the turning wheels spins the rotor and generates a charge via the electromagnets in the motor, which in turn goes up into the battery for storage. If you're curious, you can dig into the nuts and bolts of how an electric vehicle works.
What's the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid?
In short, a hybrid primarily relies on gas with an electric backup, while a plug-in hybrid relies on electric power with a gas backup.

Read more
You’ll soon be able to watch YouTube videos in your Android Automotive car
Android Auto in a car.

Google is making a bigger play for the in-car infotainment system. At Google I/O 2023, the company took the wraps off of a series of improvements to both Android Auto and Android Automotive, allowing those who want Google-based services in their car to get more features and better account integration.

As a reminder, the two systems may have a similar (almost identical?) name, but are actually quite different. Android Auto essentially just projects content from your phone, whether through a wireless or wired connection. It's Google's answer to Apple's CarPlay, and doesn't work without your phone. Android Automotive, however, is a version of Android that runs in the car itself, as the car's main infotainment system. It works whether you have a connected phone or not. Collectively, Google refers to the systems as Android for Cars -- yes, yet another name.

Read more
Are EVs safe? From battery fires to autopilot, here are the facts
Lucid Air electric car

While many people will be primarily concerned with EV range before buying their first electric vehicle, others are a little nervous about having a giant lithium-ion battery strapped to their car's undercarriage. Those things can catch fire -- just ask Chevy Bolt owners. But how much of a real danger is that? And should it prevent you from buying an EV?
What safety features do EV batteries have?
The major safety issue with lithium-ion batteries is their temperature. If they get too hot, they're prone to igniting. If they get too cold, they freeze and permanently stop working. Charge and discharge rates need to be carefully regulated too, or you'll get electrical fires. Over time, small imperfections in a battery's structure can lead to short circuits and reduced lifetime.

EVs have what are called battery management systems (BMS) to keep tabs on all of these variables. The BMS will generate warnings when needed and intervene directly by cutting off power if things get out of hand. EV battery packs also have thermal management systems. Typically, this is a closed loop of liquid coolant flowing alongside the battery cells, but air cooling and welding battery cells directly to the car chassis are also means of mitigating extreme heat.
How well do EVs handle a crash?
Since there's no engine at the front of an EV, the hood typically houses a frunk -- meaning a front trunk. This acts as a large crumple zone in the case of a head-on accident. One crash in Germany avoided casualties thanks to this inherent characteristic of electric vehicles. Crash tests bear this out. Popular EVs like the Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Nissan Leaf have all received overall five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Read more