Drowsy driving has long been a public safety issue in New York and the rest of the nation. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 328,000 annual crashes occur in the U.S. due to drowsy driving; 109,000 of those crashes result in injuries and 6,400 involve a fatality. Drowsy driving has become so widespread that the National Transportation Safety Board has included “reduce fatigue-related accidents” in its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List of life-saving changes.
The ridesharing industry is especially prone to drowsy driving for several reasons. Drivers in this industry often work at night and during long periods of wakefulness, increasing their drowsiness. They may feel compelled to work even when they are sleepy because of low fare and a lack of safety incentives. Since many rideshare drivers are independent contractors, they are not screened for conditions that could influence their performance like obstructive sleep apnea.
To combat drowsy driving, Uber has announced that it will require drivers to go offline for 6 consecutive hours after working for 12 hours. Lyft is also requiring a 6-hour break after 14 hours of driving time. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which has been studying the hazards facing the rideshare industry, says that these restrictions are not enough since many rideshare drivers take multiple jobs and work when sleepiness is at its peak.
Those who are injured in an auto accident through no fault of their own may wish to seek legal advice before filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Accident attorneys might have a network of investigators, photographers, medical experts and other specialists to help build the case against the defendant. Attorneys may speak on clients’ behalf whether at the negotiation table or in the courtroom. A successful claim might reimburse the victim for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.