Liability for An Accident Caused by Fatigued Uber and Lyft Drivers
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Feb 05, 2020 in Auto Accident
Drowsy driving is a leading cause of accidents. For rideshare workers, such as those who drive for Lyft or Uber, there is an increased risk for this kind of negligent driving behavior. Many rideshare workers drive for multiple companies and there is currently no way to regulate the total number of hours worked beyond what is logged on each company’s driving app.
Rizk Law’s experienced attorneys provide more information on drowsy driving accidents caused by rideshare drivers. If you were injured in an accident caused by your Lyft or Uber driver, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn about your legal rights and whether you may have a claim to recover damages.
Why Drowsy Driving is Dangerous
Drowsy driving is a well-known and dangerous road hazard throughout the U.S., contributing to thousands of car accidents involving serious injuries and fatalities each year. Motorists who drive drowsy have:
- Less awareness of the road, traffic or potential dangers around them
- Slowed reaction times
- Impaired decision-making skills
Drowsy driving is more prevalent among commercial drivers and those who do shiftwork. It is also more likely among those who have untreated sleep disorders or who are consuming medications that cause sleepiness. According to AAA, missing just two hours of sleep causes drowsiness equivalent to driving drunk.
Why Rideshare Drivers May Have an Increased Risk for Drowsy Driving
Rideshare drivers may have an increased risk of driving fatigued for many reasons. Along with the nature of driving during alternate shifts, such as early or late hours, Lyft or Uber drivers often drive after working their regular full-time job or work late, overnight hours. These additional long work hours without breaking to get any sleep greatly increases the risk of impaired driving due to drowsiness.
Pros and Cons of Uber and Lyft’s Driving Policies
Many cities throughout the country regulate hours worked for taxi drivers, however, these rules typically do not apply to rideshare drivers. It is up to the rideshare services to set those restrictions.
Uber and Lyft have updated their driving policies to limit the length of driver shifts to help reduce drowsy driving amongst rideshare operators.
Uber allows U.S. drivers to operate up to 12 consecutive hours, but then they are restricted from resuming any driving shifts for six consecutive hours after that shift. However, those 12 hours do not account for time a driver may spend while stopped and waiting for rides, which means the driver could still be working longer than 12 hours.
Lyft’s driving policy requires drivers to take a mandated six-hour break following every 14 consecutive hours spent on-duty.
These policies are a good start, however, since some people drive for multiple rideshare services, it cannot sufficiently monitor rideshare behavior. Since operators are not considered employees, neither Lyft nor Uber can prevent workers from driving first for one service, then turning off that company’s app after reaching the maximum allowed hours and working for another service. Many operators drive after a full day of work, so they may begin their driving shift already tired, yet the rideshare service has no way to prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel.
Signs Your Driver May be Drowsy and Driving Impaired
You can help to avoid riding in a car with a fatigued Lyft or Uber operator by noticing his or her driving behavior. Your rideshare operator may be driving drowsy if he or she displays the following symptoms:
- Repeated yawning
- Rubbing eyes
- Repeated blinking
- Heavy eyelids
- Difficulty keeping the head up
- Drifting from the lane
- Hitting the shoulder rumble strip
- Missing traffic signals, signs, turns or exits
- Driving too fast or too slowly
If you feel your Lyft or Uber driver is drowsy or otherwise impaired, you can ask him or her to end the ride early. Find a safe place to get out and call for another ride. While most drivers will probably not give you any problem if you want to stop somewhere else, you can also call 9-1-1 for assistance if the driver refuses to cooperate.
If Injured in an Accident Due to a Drowsy Rideshare Driver
If you are involved in an accident caused by a drowsy rideshare driver, take the following steps:
- Call emergency services, or 9-1-1, to report the accident and receive immediate medical attention on the scene.
- Move to a safe spot away from traffic.
- Collect the driver’s information, including contact information and insurance information.
- Seek medical care immediately afterwards if you did not receive it at the accident scene.
If you were injured in an accident involving a drowsy rideshare driver, it may be in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney for legal advice. Pursuing a personal injury claim is often complicated and you may be dealing with insurance companies who will try to reduce or deny your claim.
Our Experienced Attorneys Are Here to Help
If you were injured in an accident caused by a drowsy rideshare driver, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. At Rizk Law, our knowledgeable Portland car accident attorneys are prepared to review the circumstances of your accident and discuss your potential for legal action.
Our initial consultations are completely free of charge and you have no obligation to pursue a claim. If we represent you, there are no upfront fees for our services. We only get paid if we obtain compensation on your behalf.