The ridesharing industry in Arizona, as elsewhere, comes with some inherent safety risks, according to a position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Many ridesharing drivers, compelled by low fares and salary incentives, drive after extended periods of wakefulness and run the risk of becoming sleep-deprived. This means more cases of drowsy driving.
Every year in the U.S., drowsy driving contributes to an average of 328,000 car crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. About 109,000 of these result in injuries, and 64,000 are fatal. Reducing fatigue-related accidents is among the top 10 critical changes that the National Transportation Safety Board wants to see.
There are specific problems to overcome in the ridesharing industry. For example, many of the drivers are independent contractors who do not get screened for those medical conditions that might be reducing their alertness, such as obstructive sleep apnea. They also choose their own hours, working often in the early morning and late at night when sleepiness might peak.
Uber and Lyft now require drivers to take at least six hours offline after driving for 12 hours and 14 hours, respectively. The AASM calls for more collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, law enforcement, government officials and medical professionals to address the issue.
There are resources out there, such as the Awake at the Wheel campaign, that can help drivers recognize the symptoms of drowsiness. If motor vehicle accidents take place due to the negligence of a motorist, occupants of other vehicles might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for the losses that they have incurred.