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Rideshare workers face high risk for drowsy driving

Drowsiness is a risk for many rideshare drivers in Georgia. Their industry is characterized by various salary incentives, and these can sway drivers into working past their safety limits. Sleep deprivation could alter circadian rhythms and make it even more difficult to operate in the early morning and late at night.

The ridesharing industry is not entirely unregulated. Uber requires its drivers to go offline for six straight hours after working 12 total hours. Lyft requires the same but after 14 hours. However, these measures can do nothing to prevent drivers from working in those peak periods for sleepiness. Companies are also failing to consider how many drivers can circumvent the purpose of these rules by holding multiple jobs.

These were just some of the points made by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine back in April 2018. The AASM is also concerned that most ridesharing drivers, being independent contractors, are not screened for alertness-reducing medical conditions like obstructive sleep apnea.

The academy calls for collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, medical professionals, law enforcement and government officials to address the safety risk of drowsy driving. Drivers can learn about the warning signs of drowsiness via Awake at the Wheel, a campaign forming part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.

Unfortunately, many ridesharing drivers underrate the value of sleep. If they cause a car accident while drowsy, they may be held liable for a victim's injuries, vehicle damage and other losses. It can be difficult to prove drowsy driving for a personal injury claim, however, so a victim may want an attorney by their side. The attorney could hire investigators, medical experts and other third parties to strengthen the case.

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