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Drowsy Uber Drivers Put Chicagoans at Risk

Written by Ankin Law Office

Uber has developed an app that tracks and alerts drivers of their driving time and rest breaks. After 12 consecutive hours behind the wheel without a rest period drivers are taken offline.

How Safe is An Uber Ride?

Drowsy driving is a problem with rideshare drivers who stay on the road for extended hours. To reduce accidents and injuries caused by driver fatigue, Uber’s new Fatigue Management app monitors driving time for all Uber drivers. When a driver reaches a maximum of 12 cumulative hours on the road without a required rest break, the Fatigue Management feature takes the driver out of service.

Uber drivers who rely on fares for their main source of income are especially vulnerable to drowsy driving accidents. Drivers often drive long hours to pick up more fares within a 24-hour period, putting themselves and their passengers at greater risk of injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lack of sleep before driving is the most common cause of driver fatigue which is responsible for at least 6,000 vehicle crashes each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving caused 3 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes from 2011 to 2015. Common signs often include:

  • Frequent yawning and eye blinking
  • Nodding of the head
  • Difficulty maintaining a constant speed
  • Running traffic lights and stop signs
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Slow reaction times

The Uber Fatigue Management app uses telematics and GPS to measure a driver’s cumulative driving time. The app does not count long stops, such as waiting for a ride request, but it does count short traffic stops and multiple shifts during the day.

Prior to new limited driving rules, many Chicago Uber drivers were driving up to 19-hour shifts without breaks. Uber accident attorneys saw a noticeable increase in rideshare vehicle crash rates by as much as 24 percent within the Chicago area.

To reduce and prevent drowsy driving accidents, a Chicago city ordinance limits Uber drivers to a 10-hour driving shift, followed by a 6-hour rest period. When a driver gets close to hitting the limit, the app sends periodic alerts at the two-hour, one-hour, and 30-minute mark. Once the driver reaches his/her time limit, their app automatically goes offline. However, if the driver is on a trip with a passenger when the 10-hour shift expires, he/she is allowed to complete the trip before being taken offline.

Categories: Auto Accidents