Is Drowsy Driving a Serious Issue in the Rideshare Industry?

Blog,Ridesharing • May 8, 2020

For independent contractors driving for the rideshare giants Uber and Lyft, time and time on the clock is as good as money. The more time these contractors spend on the road, the more money the driver will make throughout the day, regardless of the company he or she works for. This is just the nature of the business. 

Because of this, work hours and long working days are common in the rideshare industry. This sets the scene for the risk of drowsy driving and its innate dangers are significantly increased. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these reasons can potentially contribute to finding that driver fatigue and drowsiness are inherent safety hazards that come with the rideshare industry. 

Drivers Are Not Screened for Health Concerns That Can Lead to Drowsy Driving

Any driver can potentially become drowsy and fatigued if they spend enough of their time on the clock, but medical issues, including sleep apnea and similar issues that impact driver awareness, are not properly screened by the rideshare services of Lyft and Uber. Lacking a comprehensive medical background is extremely unfortunate, especially when paired with drivers who choose to work extended hours. Drivers may even decide to work these long hours for multiple reasons, like low fares that increase their incentive to continue driving. 

The position held by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicates that these low fares and salary incentives are meant to motivate the independent contractors and can likely cause them to drive far past their safety limits. This can be an extremely dangerous combination, and this is not an issue that is unique to rideshare drivers. 

The Dame Caused by Drowsy Driving on American Roadways

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that an estimated 300,000 accidents take place annually involving a drowsy or fatigued driver. Other organizations have also corroborated these claims. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the reduction of fatigue-related crashes is one of the ten most important changes required to both reduce transportation collisions and potentially save more American lives on the road through preventing car accidents. 

For its part, the ridesharing company Uber has taken on serious efforts to combat the growing issue of fatigued drivers driving on its platform. In February of 2018, the company announced a plan that would require drivers to log out of the app for at least six hours after driving for 12 or more hours at a time. Lyft has taken similar measures, but the company still allows contractors to stay active for an additional two hours. Because of this, Lyft drivers are required to take a mandatory six-hour break after accruing 14 hours of driving time. 

While these companies are trying to curb the risk of drowsy drivers on their platform, it may not be enough. These safety measures are not enough to fully prevent drivers from driving fatigued according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. A key contributor to their view is that, as independent contractors, these drivers are often working other jobs in addition to operating on these rideshare platforms, and the drivers may even drive for other rideshare companies. This means a driver can easily circumvent these safety limits by simply switching over to another app. 

If you or a family member has been injured in a late-night or early morning rideshare collision, you should know that these are peak hours for drowsiness and driver fatigue. Because of this, factors such as these should not be ignored when a rideshare crash attorney in New Jersey investigates your claim. Any findings of fatigued driving could potentially affect any final compensation that you are eligible to receive. 

Contact Brady Reilly & Cardoso, LLC today for a legal consultation if you or a family member has been injured in an Uber or Lyft rideshare collision. 

Uber & Lyft Accidents in New Jersey 

Is Drowsy Driving a Serious Issue in the Rideshare Industry?The rideshare industry is still extremely new, and the industry is continuously changing. The industry will continue to evolve over time, and rideshare companies will present new legal issues that a skilled attorney must adapt to. Many people think that ridesharing is a public good, but there are some notable downsides that go along the industry. The biggest players Uber and Lyft try to keep their services safe, but each can only do so much. All drivers are at risk of causing serious crashes, even those who are tasked with transporting passengers from place to place. 

That have been recent studies establishing a link between the creation of Uber and an increase in roadway fatalities in the United States. Across the country, traffic fatalities have increased, with some sources claiming a 2 to 3 percent rise. This means an additional 1,100 people are dying annually. Why this is the case isn’t exactly clear at this time. However, more Uber drivers mean that there are more cars on the road and more miles being driven. Also, many drivers for Uber and Lyft aren’t provided the necessary training to make sure that they will not put their passengers in danger. Any potential injuries associated with the rideshare industry are compounded by the fact that these large companies will attempt to avoid liability by claiming their drivers are just contractors and not direct employees. 

Those who are injured in a crash involving a rideshare vehicle should consult with an Uber/Lyft crash lawyer in New Jersey immediately in order to better understand their legal options. The New Jersey legal team at Brady Reilly & Cardoso, LLC is here to help you make sure that your case is treated fairly and that the liable driver is held accountable for his or her actions. We will fight to make sure that you recover the compensation you deserve so that your life can get back on track. Contact our New Jersey law offices today at (201) 997- 0030 if you or a loved one has been unfairly injured in a crash involving a rideshare driver.