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Ridesharing drivers put others at risk through drowsiness

Ridesharing drivers generally receive low fares but also various salary incentives. These factors often urge them on to work even when they are drowsy. New York residents should know that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has a position statement out, published in April 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, that calls drowsy driving in the ridesharing industry a public safety risk.

The National Transportation Safety Board put the reduction of fatigue-related accidents among its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List of changes that are critical to saving lives on the road. Every year in the U.S., drowsy driving contributes to an average of 328,000 car crashes according to estimates by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

However, many ridesharing drivers underrate the value of sleep. Others may be unaware that they have medical conditions that reduce alertness, such as obstructive sleep apnea, or some may be aware and choose to work in spite of that.

Uber and Lyft require a six-hour break after their drivers work 12 total hours and 14 total hours, respectively. However, drivers can circumvent this rule by holding multiple jobs. The rule also does nothing about the fact that many drivers work when sleepiness reaches its peak: early in the morning and late at night. Collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, law enforcement, medical experts and government officials is necessary.

Drowsy driving is negligent driving, so those who incur a personal injury at the hands of a sleepy ridesharing driver may have grounds for a personal injury claim. If victims themselves were negligent, a court will determine the degree to which both parties are at fault. The damages that victims receive will be proportioned to that degree, so it may be helpful to hire a lawyer who will work to negotiate for the maximum settlement possible. If one cannot be achieved, the lawyer may be able to litigate.

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