According to a position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, drowsy driving is an inherent risk in the rideshare industry. As drivers in Illinois are aware, fatigue behind the wheel is already a widespread risk, but they may be wondering what the reasons are for this trend among rideshare drivers. There are several.
First is that rideshare drivers work during extended periods of wakefulness. Their sleepiness can sometimes be aggravated by conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, but since most of these drivers are independent contractors, they are not screened for such conditions. Low fares and lack of salary incentives may also push drivers to keep working even when they are drowsy. Many work late at night as well.
Back in February, Uber requires its drivers to take a six-hour consecutive break after driving a total of 12 hours. Lyft also requires a six-hour break after 14 hours of drive time. However, the AASM has stated that these are insufficient because many drivers work late at night and work multiple jobs.
Every year in the U.S., according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an estimated 328,000 crashes occur because of drowsy driving. Of these, 109,000 result in injuries and 6,400 are fatal. The AASM recommends that rideshare companies collaborate with law enforcement, medical professionals, and government officials to combat the trend.
When a car accident occurs through the fault of a drowsy driver, the victim may wish to investigate whether he or she has the grounds for a personal injury claim. A lawyer might provide a case evaluation and, upon being retained, hire investigators to find proof of the defendant’s guilt, which could include the driver’s work schedule, the police reports, and any eyewitness testimony. The lawyer may then negotiate with the insurance companies or take the case straight to court.