Most of us know the dangers of drowsy driving, and now, a statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that fatigue associated with sleep deprivation inherently impacts safety in the ridesharing industry (Lyft and Uber, for example).
According to the statement, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disturbances caused by nighttime driving or extended periods of wakefulness can affect drivers in the rideshare industry, increasing their drowsy driving risk. Additionally, these drivers are often independent contractors who are not regularly screened for medical conditions like obstructive sleep apnea that can cause drowsiness and decrease alertness.
Earlier this year, ridesharing companies announced steps to combat this problem. Uber requires drivers to take a six-hour break after 12 hours of driving time, and Lyft requires its drivers to go offline for six hours after 14 hours of driving. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these limits are insufficient because many drivers work multiple jobs, drive for more than one company, and often drive late at night or early in the morning – peak times for drowsiness.