The city of Chicago and Uber are taking steps to prevent drowsy driving accidents and Chicago rideshare drivers are required to comply with a city ordinance that regulates the number of hours behind the wheel.
Is Your Uber Driver Asleep Behind the Wheel?
Chicago’s city rideshare ordinance limits divers to a maximum of 10 hours behind the wheel within a 24-hour period. Additionally, Uber is instigating a new policy that requires U.S. drivers to take a six-hour break after 12 consecutive hours of driving. A new Uber app feature will count down available driving hours and warn drivers when they have two hours, one hour, and 30 minutes of driving time remaining.
The Chicago ordinance applies to all Chicago rideshare drivers and all rideshare apps. Under the law, rideshare drivers who have exceeded their 10-hour limit within a 24-hour period will be prohibited from operating within the city. The 10-hour driving limit includes time spent with online apps that provide trip requests, passenger pickup time, waiting on passengers, and transporting passengers. The 10-hour limit automatically resets at the beginning of the next 24-hour period. Under the new rideshare ordinance, Chicago may issue fines to drivers who exceed maximum hours. This includes all hours spent online across all rideshare companies and apps. Drivers who drive for multiple rideshare companies will need to keep track of their total online time.
Drowsy driving is a major problem in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 100,000 recorded car crashes are related to driver fatigue every year, resulting in approximately 1,600 yearly fatalities. In 2013, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 car crashes, which accounted for 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths for U.S. drivers.
Drowsy driving occurs when a driver is fatigued from lack of sleep, but it can also occur from drinking alcohol, prescription medications, sleep disorders, and shift work. Drowsiness behind the wheel is extremely dangerous, because drivers are less able to pay attention to the road, reaction times are slower, and abilities to make sound decisions are impaired. NHTSA studies show that commercial drivers who operate large trucks, buses, taxis, and rideshare vehicles are at a higher risk for accidents due to drowsiness or sleepiness caused by long hours behind the wheel.