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& Pemerton PLLC
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AASM warns against drowsiness among ridesharing drivers

Many Tennessee motorists get drowsy from time to time. However, rideshare drivers are often sleep deprived on a regular basis. The low fare and salary incentives of the industry compel many operators to overwork themselves. This can wreak havoc on their circadian rhythm and endanger both themselves and others.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are 328,000 car crashes every year due to distracted driving. Of these, 109,000 involve injuries and 6,400 end in fatalities. Driving after an extended period of wakefulness is not the only factor; some suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and other conditions that lower alertness. Regrettably, ridesharing drivers are seldom screened for such conditions since most are independent contractors.

In a position statement published in April 2018, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for collaboration between ridesharing companies, law enforcement, government officials and medical experts. The academy believes this is the only effective way to reduce fatigue-related accidents. While some ridesharing companies require drivers to take a minimum of six hours offline after so many hours of work, the AASM says these measures will not suffice. They do not take into account the fact that many ridesharing drivers work when they are most drowsy; that is, early in the morning and late at night. In addition, many drivers hold multiple jobs.

In the wake of a motor vehicle accident, a victim may want to see a lawyer about filing a claim. If a ridesharing driver is to blame, the victim will likely file their claim against the worker's car insurance company, not the ridesharing company. Regardless, they should expect opposition. If a settlement cannot be achieved, they can discuss litigation with their lawyer.

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