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Drowsiness a danger among ridesharing drivers

Some ridesharing drivers in New Jersey and across the U.S. are endangering both themselves and others through sleep deprivation. This is because many of them overwork themselves to meet certain salary incentives. Most ridesharing drivers are independent contractors, which means they are never screened for medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a position statement back in April 2018 that brought attention to this public safety risk. It called for collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, government officials, law enforcement officers and medical experts to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes.

There's no doubt that drowsy driving is a widespread danger. AAA estimates that there are annually 328,000 drowsy driving crashes in the U.S., with 109,000 of them resulting in injuries and some 6,400 ending with a fatality. The National Transportation Safety Board placed the reduction of drowsy driving crashes on its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List.

Uber and Lyft are two ridesharing companies that now mandate their drivers to take breaks after working a certain number of hours. However, the AASM says this is not enough. First, the breaks don't address the fact that drivers often work in the early mornings and at night when sleepiness reaches its peak. Drivers may also hold multiple jobs.

If a drowsy ridesharing driver causes an auto accident, a victim can file a claim with the applicable auto insurance company. Normally, the ridesharing companies themselves have no legal responsibility for their drivers. Whatever the situation, a victim may want a lawyer to assist with the claim.

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