Law Offices of Michael R. Kaiser
Call Today For a FREE Consultation: 760-459-8545
View Our Practice Areas

Drowsy driving a major challenge in ridesharing industry

Ridesharing drivers in California often face a major challenge in sleep deprivation. Compelled by low fares and salary incentives, many drivers push themselves past their safety limits. This wreaks havoc on the circadian rhythms of their bodies and endangers both themselves and other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Back in April 2018, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine released a position statement on this issue, calling it a public safety risk. The AASM called on ridesharing industries, law enforcement, government officials and medical professionals to collaborate on reducing fatigue-related accidents.

Reducing drowsy driving, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's 2017-2018 Most Wanted List, is among the top 10 critical changes that can save lives on the road. There are an average of 328,000 annual crashes in the U.S. that involve drowsy driving, according to AAA estimates. Of these, 109,000 end in injuries and 6,400 in fatalities.

Both Uber and Lyft require their workers to go offline for six straight hours after driving a certain about of time. However, the AASM says this is insufficient because it does not address certain factors. For example, drivers often work in the early morning and late at night, when sleepiness peaks, and some work multiple jobs. As independent contractors, most ridesharing operators aren't screened for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition known to reduce alertness.

Drowsy driving can be hard to determine from a legal perspective, even with the most comprehensive accident investigations. However, circumstantial evidence like a ridesharing driver's work record can help build a case. Someone who wishes to file a personal injury lawsuit against a ridesharing driver's auto insurance company (in most cases, the ridesharing company has no legal responsibility for a driver) may want to retain a lawyer. The lawyer could negotiate on their behalf and take the case to court if a settlement isn't reached.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information