Uber will limit the number of consecutive hours its drivers can be on the road. The announcement comes a week after a study from AAA showed the dangers of “drowsy driving.” However, the Uber plan may still allow drivers to be on the road for longer than is safe in most cases.
Uber’s Sachin Kansal, director of Product Management, wrote:
Drowsy driving is an issue for all who share the road. As the latest survey from the National Sleep Foundation reports, nearly seven million people admitted to dozing off behind the wheel within the same two weeks.
While nearly 60 percent of U.S. drivers use Uber less than 10 hours a week, we want to do our part to help prevent drowsy driving. That’s why we’re taking a step forward by launching a feature across the country that prompts drivers to go offline for six straight hours after a total of 12 hours of driving time.
Studies show that several factors can contribute to the risk. Among them are a “sleep deficit” brought on by too little sleep, often over several days. Some medications make the problem worse, often after only a few hours of driving. Some people who work shifts that are not part of the “normal” 9-to-5 workday are more likely to suffer from drowsy driving problems. Even eating heavy foods can contribute to the problem.
Large companies like Uber almost by their nature have to set one size fits all employee rules. Uber’s 12-hour rule may be too little to solve a serious problem.