Time (and time worked) is money for independent contractors such as Uber and Lyft drivers. The more time that is spent on the road, naturally, the more money an Uber or Lyft driver can make in a day of work.

As work hours and a long workday accrue, however, the risk of drowsy driving and its inherent dangers increase as well. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these reasons help contribute to the finding that driver fatigue and drowsiness are "inherent safety risks in the ridesharing industry."

Drivers Are Not Screened for Medical Issues That Can Exacerbate Drowsy Driving

Any person can eventually become drowsy and fatigued if enough hours are spent working, but health issues such as sleep apnea and similar issues that affect driver alertness are not screened for by rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber. The lack of a comprehensive medical background check is, unfortunately, often paired with drivers who choose to work long hours as well. Drivers may choose to work these long hours for a myriad of reasons, including low fares that increase the incentive to keep driving.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s position statement goes on to indicate that these low fares and salary incentives compel the independent contractors to "continue driving past their safety limits." This recipe for disaster is not exclusive to rideshare drivers, however.

The Harms of Drowsy Driving in the United States

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it is estimated that well over 300,000 crashes occur each year that involve a drowsy driver. Further, the NTSB also listed the reduction of fatigue-related accidents as one of the ten most important changes needed to both reduce transportation accidents and save lives on America’s roads.

For its part, rideshare company Uber has taken an effort to combat the issue of tired driving among its contractors. In February of 2018, the company announced its plans to require drivers to log out of the app for at least six hours after 12 or more hours of driving time are logged. Lyft has a similar measure, although the company lets contractors stay active for an additional two hours. Therefore, Lyft drivers take a mandatory six-hour break after accruing 14 hours of driving time.

Notably, these safety measures are insufficient according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. One key factor in this finding is that, as independent contractors, these drivers often have other jobs in addition to driving for these rideshare companies. And, the drivers may also drive for other rideshare companies, allowing the driver to exceed these safety limits based upon driving hours.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a late-night or early morning rideshare accident, these are peak hours for sleepiness and driver fatigue. As such, factors like these should not be discounted when a rideshare accident lawyer investigates your claim since findings of drowsy driving could impact the compensation you are entitled to receive.

Contact The Ledger Law Firm for a legal consultation if you or a loved one has been injured in an Uber or Lyft rideshare accident.

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