Uber is taking action against the possibility of their drivers falling asleep at the wheel with a new rule shift rolling out across the US over the next couple of weeks.
The ride-hailing company has released a statement in which they announced a requirement for their more prolific drivers to recharge with mandatory 6-hour breaks if they’ve been driving for 12 hours straight. In order to really enforce the change, Uber prevents drivers from logging in before those 6 hours are up, preventing even the most persistent drivers from cheating the system. They’ll be given three separate warnings, the first coming after 10 hours of driving, the next after 11 hours, and the last coming in 30 minutes before the 12-hour time limit is up.
The aim of the rule change is being made as an effort to combat drowsy driving, as they used actual statistics from the National Sleep Foundation and direct quotes from the people at the Governors Highway Safety Association. This is definitely a pretty positive move when it comes to the prevention of accidents, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has data which states that drowsy driving can cause up to 6,000 deaths per year.
Director of Product Management at Uber, Sachin Kansal, told the Washington Post that safety is their #1 priority with the new policy. He said,
We want to keep our riders and drivers safe, The approach we have taken is irrespective of who’s responsible for managing this. We want to help the drivers manage that in the app so they have all the visibility, so they know how much they can drive and when they need to go offline.
According to Kansal, Uber will use GPS tracking and telematics in order to determine whether or not their drivers are moving. While long stops exceeding five minutes will not be included in that 12-hour time frame, shorter stops at things like stoplights will be counted against the drivers. Additionally, even drivers who have not been working straight 12-hour shifts could be prompted to stop if their cumulative driving time within a certain time frame exceeds that amount. For example, if a driver works three separate 4-hour drives without taking at least a cumulative 6 hours of rest in between, they’ll be prompted to stop after that last trip is finished.
As is the case with any big policy change, this is gonna have some great benefits as well as some serious drawbacks. Obviously, the mandatory breaks would be a huge boost to safety, but the time constraints (especially when the driver hasn’t been going for 12 hours straight) could make drivers who depend on payments from Uber in order to make a living lose a substantial amount of their income. However, I’m not so sure that I’d want to get into a car with someone who’s dozing off behind the wheel, so Uber made a solid move with this one.
[via The Verge]