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Ridesharing industry marked by high risk for drowsy driving

Louisiana residents who drive for extended periods could become drowsy on the road. This is the issue facing many drivers in the ridesharing industry. Unfortunately, low fare and salary incentives compel many to work past their safety limit, thus endangering themselves and others. Early mornings and nights are the times when sleepiness tends to peak.

Another problem is that many ridesharing drivers, being independent contractors, are not screened for medical conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, which can affect their alertness behind the wheel. These are just some of the issues brought to the public attention in a position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The AASM calls for collaborative efforts between ridesharing companies, law enforcement, government officials and medical experts to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes.

Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft have taken one positive step in this regard. Both now require their workers to take six hours offline after driving a total of 12 and 14 hours, respectively. According to AAA estimates, drowsy driving is behind an average of 328,000 annual car crashes in the U.S. 109,000 result in injuries, and 64,000 in fatalities.

Drivers who become drowsy will fail in their duty to exercise reasonable care towards others. When such negligence is to blame for a car accident, those who are injured could file a personal injury claim. Auto insurance carriers have a legal team that can fight to deny payment, so victims will want their own lawyer to assist. Personal injury lawyers can hire third-party investigators and medical experts to build the case before going to the negotiation table.

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