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Uber’s making an effort to prevent its drivers from taking to the streets while sleepy. In an announcement on Monday, Uber detailed a new policy for its most frequent US drivers that requires them to take a six-hour break after driving for 12 consecutive hours.
As reported by The Washington Post, Uber is updating the driver app with the new feature. After driving for 10 straight hours, the app will give the driver a warning, after 11 hours they’ll get a second warning and a third notification will appear as a 30-minute warning. Then, once the 12-hour threshold has been crossed, the driver’s app won’t be accessible for six hours. After the mandatory six-hour break, the app will reactivate itself.
Uber said that the update isn’t the result of regulations, but rather to push for safer conditions for drivers and passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is the cause of up to 6,000 fatal crashes annually.
“We want to keep our riders and drivers safe,” said Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Director of Product Management. “The approach we have taken is irrespective of who’s responsible for managing this. We want to help the drivers manage that in the app so they have all the visibility, so they know how much they can drive and when they need to go offline.”
The driver app will utilize GPS and telematics to pinpoint when a vehicle is moving. If a vehicle is stopped for a short period, such as at stoplights, the time spent will count toward the driver’s limit. However, when they’re stopped for longer periods of more than five minutes, such as waiting in line to pick up passengers at the airport, it won’t count toward their limit.
Where there are existing driver time limits, the driver app feature will be adjusted to meet those local requirements. Prior to this nationwide rollout, Uber had already implemented a similar restriction in New York City in 2016. Uber drivers based in the UK are already required to take six-hour breaks after 10-hour shifts.
Featured image by @Vruln via Twenty20.
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