Ride-share drivers in New York should know that being drowsy behind the wheel is an inherent risk in their line of work. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine points out that these drivers may work for extended periods of wakefulness and disregard any symptoms of fatigue that they experience. Many even feel that the value of sleep is overrated.
Ride-sharing companies have taken some steps to combat the trend of drowsy driving. Uber, for instance, requires its drivers to go offline for six hours after 12 hours of work. Lyft mandates the same rest period for those who drive 14 hours. However, the AASM finds these measures to be insufficient. Drivers may hold several jobs, even with various ride-sharing companies, or drive when sleepiness reaches a peak, such as late at night and early in the morning.
The AASM is calling on ride-sharing companies to cooperate with government officials, medical experts and law enforcement in the effort to reduce what could be a major public safety risk. Drivers, for their part, can learn to recognize drowsiness through the Awake at the Wheel campaign that is being held by the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are 328,000 car crashes involving a drowsy driver every year. About 6,400 of these prove fatal.
When a drowsy driver is to blame for a motor vehicle crash, an injured party may want to consult with an attorney about filing a claim. There are limits on who can file a third-party insurance claim because New York is a no-fault state. With an attorney, the crash victim may strive for a reasonable settlement covering their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other economic and non-economic damages. Legal counsel could handle all negotiations with the applicable insurance companies.