Driving is hard work. It’s easily one of the most mentally-taxing things we do all day whether we realize it or not. That’s why it’s much more dangerous to drive when drowsy, under the influence, or distracted by your dumb phone. After a few high-profile studies conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving causes eight times more automobile accidents than previous estimates found. To help combat the problem of drowsy driving, ride hailing app Uber has now announced a new policy which forces drivers to take regular breaks. I don’t know about you, but I’m left wondering: shouldn’t this have been already obvious?
The new Uber rules mandate that all drivers take a continual six hour break for every twelve hours of driving. The app will now update drivers regularly about how long they’ve been driving, and monitor what drivers are doing to ensure the time is measured fairly. For example, the timer will still run while drivers are stopped at a stoplight since they are still technically engaged in the act of driving, but the timer will stop while drivers are parked and waiting for a pickup since that time is often used by drivers for resting and napping.
Uber’s Head of Safety Product Sachin Kansal says while the new rules might sound arbitrary, the company has put a lot of thought into these regulations with the help of outside experts:
There’s definitely a lot of third-party expertise that has gone into our thinking. But it’s also that we know how our drivers drive, we know road conditions, so we have baked all that into it as well.
60% of all Uber drivers drive less than ten hours a week, so the new rules likely won’t affect too many drivers. Is this one more way Uber drivers are becoming more like regular employees and less like independent contractors?