A driver may be at fault for an accident because of fatigue – including when they are driving for Uber. Driver fatigue is a factor in 2% of fatal motor vehicle crashes.
Under Florida law § 627.748, Uber can’t force drivers to be logged into the app at certain times. If they did, their drivers wouldn’t be independent contractors. But do they require drivers to take breaks? The Florida rideshare accident attorneys at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC attorneys explain hour limits for Uber drivers.
Do Uber Drivers Have Hour Limits?
Uber imposes driver hour limits, logging drivers off the app after they reach a maximum number of hours. The exact number of hours allowed varies by state and local regulations, and Uber also imposes maximum driving hours in all circumstances.
In 2018, Uber first implemented a mandatory 6-hour rest period after 12 hours of driving for U.S.-based drivers. Today, Uber states that they have driving-hour limits, but they don’t give specifics, simply stating that a substantial rest period is required after a driver reaches maximum limits.
Even though the ridesharing platform imposes driving time limits, it isn’t that simple. As many as 70% of rideshare drivers work for both Uber and Lyft.
Drivers can simply switch on and off between the apps to skirt minimum rest requirements. In addition, even a driver who complies with minimum rest requirements may be fatigued. The result may be a devastating crash that injures other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrian victims.
How many hours can an Uber driver work in the USA?
The hours that an Uber driver can work in the USA depends on limitations in state and local law. For example, in California, Uber drivers can work for up to 12 hours before taking a six-hour break. If there is no applicable law, Uber imposes a time limit, requiring a break of several hours after reaching the maximum time limit.
What Are the Signs that an Uber Crash Involves Driver Fatigue?
Motor vehicle crashes involving driver fatigue have certain characteristics. Signs include:
- Especially serious injuries or property damage
- No evasive action taken before the impact
- Single-vehicle crashes
- Leaving the roadway
- A crash that occurs late at night or early in the morning
In addition, the driver’s behavior leading up to the crash should be examined including hours active in the app.
What factors can make an Uber driver fatigued?
Things that may contribute to the fatigue of an Uber driver include:
- Operating for many hours without taking a break
- Not taking enough breaks or taking breaks that are too short
- Too little sleep before beginning to drive
- Alcohol use combined with too little sleep because alcohol impacts a person differently when they’re not well rested
- Irregular sleeping periods and highly varied driving hours
- Diverted attention during driving from interacting with the app
- Especially difficult driving, including in heavy traffic or during unusual weather
- Medication use
- Sleep disorders and medical problems
- Using caffeine as a substitute for sleep
Uber’s Drowsy Driving Policy
Uber has a drowsy driving policy. The policy defines drowsy driving as operating while tired. They say that a driver may be banned from the app for up to six hours for even a single report of drowsy driving. Uber may ban a driver permanently because of repeated reports or an especially egregious report of drowsy driving.
Reporting a Fatigued Uber Driver
Signs that an Uber driver is operating drowsy may include:
- Having their eyes closed
- Following too closely
- Delayed reaction time
- Sudden stopping or starting, appearing startled
- Nodding off, blinking a lot, rubbing eyes
Someone who is not in the rideshare vehicle, like another driver, their passenger, or a pedestrian, may be in the best position to observe that a driver is drowsy.
Can you report an Uber driver operating drowsy if you’re not a passenger?
If you see an Uber driver that appears drowsy, you can make a report, even if you’re not a passenger. Uber calls it a third-party incident report. Provide as much information as you can because Uber can’t act if they can’t identify the driver responsible, or if they don’t have clear information about what happened.
Community guidelines prohibit false reports. Representatives review complaints for evidence of fraud, and a user may be suspended or removed for filing a false report.
Uber Driver Hours Limitations, Fatigue, and Car Accident Liability
Fatigue is an example of driver negligence that may allow a victim to sue in tort following a Florida car accident. (Florida Statutes § 627.737).
As independent contractors, Uber drivers must monitor themselves and make sure that they rest when necessary. When an Uber driver causes a crash because they exceed hour limits or fatigue is a contributing factor, they may be liable to victims to pay compensation.
The same legal standards for car accident fault apply to Uber drivers that apply to all motor vehicle operators – but each situation is evaluated individually. Uber drivers are evaluated as for-hire, rideshare drivers.
Uber drivers must ensure that they are not drowsy. All their behavior may be examined – how many hours they drove, how much they slept before driving, and any other relevant factors. Violating hours limitations may be evidence of negligence.
How Our Florida Uber Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Our lawyers represent drivers in other vehicles, their passengers, and pedestrians who an Uber driver has hit. It’s our job to ask the important questions.
We examine whether driver hours contributed to the crash, what it might mean for liability and your right to compensation. Our team builds the evidence, including gathering digital records and information that may prove your case.
If an Uber has injured you, you should know that Uber drivers have time limits, and they may be relevant to a compensation claim. For a personalized consultation, and to see how we may assist in your case, contact us.