People in Colorado generally enjoy the convenience provided by ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Passengers, however, might not realize that drivers for these companies could work long hours and experience sleep deprivation. A recent statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for increased regulation of ridesharing to reduce the public safety risks produced by drowsy drivers.
The majority of these drivers function as independent contractors. They have not been screened for medical conditions that could increase sleepiness such as obstructive sleep apnea. An associate professor of medicine said that the salary incentives of ridesharing services motivate drivers to work beyond safety limits. Their customers also lack awareness of how long their drivers might have been awake.
Recently, both Uber and Lyft imposed break times on drivers. Uber drivers must sign off for 6 hours after driving for 12 hours. Lyft drivers can work for 14 hours before they must take 6 hours off. The AASM considers these breaks insufficient, especially because drivers often work multiple jobs and may not be sleeping during their breaks.
Estimates from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety attribute 328,000 accidents every year to drowsy drivers. These crashes produce over 100,000 injuries and over 6,000 deaths annually.
A person operating a vehicle without sufficient sleep could be engaging in reckless driving. A victim of an accident caused by a sleepy driver might be able to recover damages with a personal injury claim against the driver and insurance company. An attorney may assist with the investigation of the accident and uncover evidence that the person had been awake for a long time prior to the wreck. As part of a lawsuit on behalf of a client, an attorney may seek compensation for medical bills and lost income. A settlement might emerge after pretrial negotiations or a jury decision.