More Americans are using rideshare programs such as Uber, Lyft and others to get where they need to go. But a recent study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that fatigue and sleepiness are inherent risks for rideshare passengers and drivers.
The major factor contributing to fatigue behind the wheel for rideshare drivers was their work schedule. Many drivers work for rideshare companies in their off hours after their regular jobs. This type of schedule can cause drivers to be on the road on too little rest. Many rideshare drivers also do the bulk of their driving in the evening and at night when they can often earn higher fares. People who work during the day and then also work at night are probably not getting enough rest. This can lead to drowsy-driving accidents.
AASM also noted in its report that almost all rideshare drivers are independent contractors and are not screened for medical issues, such as sleep apnea, that can contribute to sleepiness behind the wheel.
The problem of drowsy driving and accidents is getting worse. According to an AASM press release this year, there are 328,000 crashes each year that involve a sleepy driver. Of those, 6,400 are deadly and more than 100,000 lead to serious injuries.
The rideshare industry has been getting bad publicity from some of these incidents and has been taking steps to solve the problem. In February 2018, Uber started to require drivers to take a break for six straight hours after they drive for 12 hours. They must be offline from the Uber rideshare app for at least six hours. Lyft also requires drivers to have the same six-hour break after 14 hours of driving.
But AASM argues these steps are insufficient. Drivers usually work more than one job or may work for two or more ridesharing services.
Driver Fatigue a Big Problem on California Highways
There are far too many drowsy driving accidents in America, and we see plenty of them in California, as well. For example, the FMCSA recently reported that 13% of national commercial vehicle wrecks are caused in part by driver fatigue. Our state saw a fatal bus crash in the Central Valley in August 2016 that was caused by a seriously sleep-deprived driver. There also was another bus crash near Palm Springs in October 2016 that killed 13 people.
Our southern California personal injury attorneys at Neale & Fhima hope that more is done to prevent drowsy driving in rideshare programs and overall throughout America.
Were You Hurt By a Fatigued Driver? Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney Now
More people are using rideshare programs and services these days to get where they need to go. But with this higher level of use comes more accidents related to fatigue. A tired driver can be just as dangerous as a drunk driver. If you have been hurt by a fatigued rideshare or regular driver, our Southern California personal injury attorneys at Neale & Fhima can help you to obtain compensation from the responsible party. Please contact our law offices today for a free legal consultation.