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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Uber restricts driver hours, mandates six-hour rest periods to address ‘drowsy driving’ concerns

It's the first attempt by the ride-share company to restrict how much time its drivers spend on the road.

Uber is placing restrictions on how long its drivers can work, citing concerns over 'drowsy driving.' (Port City Daily photo | COURTESY UBER)
Uber is placing restrictions on how long its drivers can work, citing concerns over ‘drowsy driving.’ (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY UBER)

WILMINGTON — Many use Uber and other ride-share programs to earn additional income, but some do drive full-time, putting in long hours behind the wheel. Uber announced today it would be restricting drivers to 12-hour shifts, citing concerns that those long stretches on the road could cause dangerous “drowsy driving.”

According to Sachin Kansal, director of product management, about 60 percent of its drivers put in less than 10 hours a week. But those who work longer hours are susceptible to “drowsy driving,” a decreased cognitive ability to respond to traffic conditions that can lead to accidents, according to Uber.

“We want to do our part to help prevent drowsy driving,” Kansal said.

Kansal sited a study performed by the National Sleep Foundation that found a significant portion of the population – over 7 million Americans – admitted to drowsy driving over a two-week period.

According to Kansal, Uber’s driver app will keep track of how long individuals have been on the road. The app will notify the driver two hours and one hour before the limit is reached; at the 12-hour mark, the app will no longer allow drivers to accept passengers. After a six-hour period, the app will reset and allow drivers back on the road.

The app only counts time spent on the road in “driver mode,” when the driver is accepting passenger requests; it does not log or track total driving time.

This is Uber’s first nationwide move to restrict the amount of time drivers spend on the road, although the company does require drivers in New York City to comply with the city’s 10-hour limit, imposed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Lfyt, Uber’s main rival in the ride-share market, already has a nationwide requirement for drivers. According to Scott Coriell, spokesman for Lyft, “the company’s drivers must take a 6-hour break for every 14 hours they’re in driver mode.”

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