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Ridesharing drivers run risk of sleep deprivation

Many ridesharing drivers in Ohio choose to work during extended periods of wakefulness. However, sleep deprivation can affect one's circadian rhythm and make the early mornings and late nights an especially dangerous time for driving. Unfortunately, ridesharing drivers can feel compelled by salary incentives to underrate sleep and keep working.

According to AAA estimates, roughly 328,000 crashes every year involve at least one drowsy driver. Of these, 109,000 result in injuries and 6,400 in death. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine called fatigued driving in the ridesharing industry a public safety risk.

It is therefore calling on ridesharing companies, law enforcement, government officials and medical experts to collaborate with one another toward a reduction of fatigue-related crashes. After all, drowsy driving is among the top 10 critical changes that the National Transportation Safety Board mentioned in its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List.

Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to take required breaks after operating for a certain amount of time. The AASM says these are insufficient measures that drivers can circumvent by holding multiple jobs. It also cannot prevent drivers from working during peak sleepiness periods.

Some motor vehicle accidents are caused by drivers with medical conditions like obstructive sleep apnea. Ridesharing drivers are seldom screened for such issues because they are independent contractors. However, this will not prevent a crash victim from filing a claim against a drowsy driver. Under this state's comparative negligence law, the amount that victims can be awarded in damages will be tempered by their own degree of fault, if any. Victims are advised to hire legal counsel for negotiations.

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