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AASM points to public safety risk of sleepy ridesharing drivers

The ridesharing industry has introduced a public safety risk in California and across the country through its drivers, who may work in a drowsy state of mind. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine made a position statement in April 2018 about this trend, and it calls for ridesharing companies, law enforcement officers, government officials and medical experts to collaborate on addressing it.

The fact is that many ridesharing drivers are deprived of sleep because they feel urged on by the low fares and the salary incentives to work more than is safe for them. Working early in the morning and late at night, when sleepiness normally reaches its peak, only compounds the problem. Though companies like Uber and Lyft have mandated six-hour breaks after 12 and 14 total work hours, respectively, these are not sufficient.

Another thing is that as independent contractors, ridesharing drivers are seldom screened for conditions that reduce alertness. One example is obstructive sleep apnea.

Many ridesharing drivers underrate sleep, making education a very important step. The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project has a campaign out called Awake at the Wheel that informs drivers as to the warning signs of drowsiness. It should be kept in mind that drowsy driving, according to AAA, contributes to about 328,000 car crashes every year in the U.S. Approximately 109,000 result in injuries while 6,400 are fatal.

Those who believe they have an auto accident case should know that proving drowsy driving is particularly difficult. If a case evaluation with a lawyer shows that they nonetheless have good grounds for a claim, they may choose to move forward with that lawyer. Personal injury lawyers might have networks of professionals, such as crash reconstruction specialists, who work to gather the necessary proof of negligence before they go on to negotiations. Victims may discuss litigation with their lawyer if a settlement isn't reached.

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