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AASM brings attention to drowsy driving in ridesharing industry

Ridesharing drivers in New Jersey run the risk of becoming sleep-deprived at the wheel. Especially in the early morning and late at night, when sleepiness is at its peak, drivers can put themselves and others in danger. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a position statement back in April 2018 that brought attention to this public safety issue.

In it, the AASM explained the factors. Ridesharing drivers are often compelled by low fare and salary incentives to overwork themselves. Many have a corresponding habit to underrate the importance of sleep. Since most of these drivers are independent contractors, they are never screened for medical conditions like obstructive sleep apnea that can affect their alertness behind the wheel.

AAA estimates that there are 328,000 annual drowsy driving crashes in the United States. About 109,000 of those crashes result in injuries, and 64,000 result in at least one fatality. While Lyft and Uber have mandated that their employees to go offline for six consecutive hours after 14 and 12 hours of driving, respectively, the AASM says this is not enough. Some drivers may have multiple jobs.

Instead, the AASM calls for collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, law enforcement, government officials and medical experts. Drivers, for their part, could take advantage of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project's Awake at the Wheel campaign and learn the warning signs of drowsiness.

When a negligent or reckless driver is to blame for an accident, the victim might file a personal injury claim. In the case of two-car accidents, plaintiffs must be 50 percent or less at fault; otherwise, they cannot recover damages in this state. With a lawyer and their team of professionals, a victim may build up their case against the at-fault driver. Their lawyer may speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or, as a last resort, in the courtroom.

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