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Drowsy driving a serious hazard in ridesharing industry

Ridesharing drivers in Oklahoma and across the U.S. often choose to work themselves to the point that they are sleep-deprived. Sleepiness can reach its peak during the early mornings and late at night, and it endangers both the driver and others on the road. This is the danger that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has pointed out in a position statement published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Several factors are involved. Ridesharing drivers can be compelled by low fare and salary incentives to risk their safety for more work. Many drivers are independent contractors and are thus never screened for medical conditions that can reduce alertness: for example, obstructive sleep apnea.

Lyft and Uber both require now that their drivers go offline for six consecutive hours after 14 and 12 total work hours, respectively. However, the AASM is pushing for more collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, medical professionals, law enforcement and government officials to reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents. Reducing their number is a priority of the National Transportation Safety Board as well. Drowsy driving is to blame for an average of 328,000 car crashes every year in the U.S., according to AAA estimates. Of these, 109,000 end in injury and 64,000 in fatalities.

Drowsy driving is a hazard that can be avoided. To drive drowsy is an act of negligence that can make all the difference in the wake of a car accident. Those who are injured through no fault of their own can file a claim against the negligent driver. It can be hard to determine if a driver was drowsy, so victims will want a lawyer and his or her network of investigators and other professionals to help strengthen their claim.