Uber, like Lyft, now has a mandated rest period for its drivers. The goal is to cut down on drowsy driving, which causes tens of thousands of auto accidents each year. How bad is drowsy driving? Colorado rates among the top three states for fatalities linked to drowsy driving.

Discover How Drowsy Driving Leads to Car Accidents

Uber now requires its drivers to take an extended break if they have been driving for 12 hours straight. The nationwide mandate is due to safety issues aimed at combating drowsy driving.

6-Hour Break Mandated for Drivers on the Road for 12 Hours

The company requirement on breaks was announced in recent days and is going to be rolled out nationally over the next few weeks. If you are an Uber driver, what this means is that if you have been driving for 12 hours, you will now be required to stop for at least six hours and get some rest. According to news reports, a driver will receive several warnings meant to persuade him or her to stop and take a break. As noted in the news report, Uber will:

  • Send the first warning after a driver has clocked 10 hours of transporting passengers.
  • Send a second warning after 11 hours of driving.
  • Send a final warning if he or she doesn’t stop 30 minutes later.
  • After the final warning, the app that alerts a driver of a passenger request will automatically be turned off, so the driver can’t pick up a passenger. The app will reactivate after six hours.

Once in place, both popular rideshare companies, Uber and its rival Lyft, will have break policies in place for drivers. Lyft’s requirement does vary a bit, in that, its drivers must stop after 14 hours of driving not 12. Though a little more lenient, the whole purpose behind both these mandates is to cut down on drowsy driving, which is a huge safety issue for the driver, the passengers and others on the road.

Drowsy Driving Responsible for Thousands of Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), between 2005 and 2009, on average, there were 83,000 crashes each year related to drowsy driving. The agency also notes that on average, those accidents resulted in nearly 890 deaths with another 37,000 injuries. A more recent statistic shows that in 2014, 846 deaths were due to drowsy driving.

Colorado is not immune to this safety issue. In fact, the state is among the deadliest when it comes to drowsy driving. The American Safety Council, an online driver education resource, notes that Colorado ranks among the top three states in auto accident fatalities due to drowsy driving. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says this habit is more common than you would think. One of their studies shows that 1 in 25 adult drivers have admitted to falling asleep while driving within the previous 30 days. Shift workers or those driving for long periods of time are more likely to drive drowsy, and that fact is why ridesharing companies are now implementing rules to ensure their drivers are taking much-needed breaks.

As Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) noted in an Uber news release:

“Driver fatigue is a serious and underappreciated traffic safety issue, and states need all the help they can get to address it. GHSA is thrilled that Uber is taking steps to prevent drowsy driving by limiting the hours drivers can be behind the wheel. This new feature has tremendous potential to protect not only Uber driver-partners, but also their passengers and, ultimately, all road users.”

So, if you do work for Uber, just know that soon, if it has not already happened, you will be required to take a break if you work up to 12 hours at a time. It’s a good rule to keep drivers safe and hopefully cut down on the number of drowsy driving accidents in Colorado and throughout the nation.

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