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Daniel L. Crandall & Associates

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Drowsy driving is a concern for ridesharing auto drivers

We tend to live busy lives. Sometimes we are too busy to eat, other times too busy to sleep. In some cases, we are so busy that we rely on other people to drive us to our destinations. Whatever the situation, when we get too busy to do one thing, it might impact the ability to do another. Take, for example, sleep deprivation. When we are behind on sleep, this can impact our ability to function. Our bodies may be weak and our minds fogged. This is not a safe condition to be in while driving; however, some motorists in Virginia and nationwide decide to take such a risk.

According to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, fatigue and sleepiness are both inherent safety risks for motorists in general, but also in the ride sharing industry. However, due to the typical schedules of ridesharing drivers, circadian influences and sleep deprivation increases the risk for drowsy driving for these drivers.

Driving for extended period of times during the night can cause a driver to be drowsy behind the wheel. Because these drivers are often independent contractors, they are often not screened for medical problems that could influence the driver's alertness, such as obstructive sleep apnea. The other danger at hand is the fact that most customers aren't wondering if their driver is alert enough. Their focus is getting to their destination and paying the fare.

It is estimated that roughly 328,000 crashes a year involve a drowsy driver. This data suggest around 109,000 injuries and 6,400 fatalities result from these crashes. Since 2017, initiatives have been implemented to reduce drowsy driving, even listing it on the top 10 critical changes that need to be made to reduce auto accidents.

While the aim is to reduce these types of crashes, the reality is that these crashes continue to occur. Those harmed in such accidents need to understand they have rights and possible legal recourses. It is important to hold negligent drivers accountable, and one way to do so is to determine if one can pursue compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other similar damages.

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