According to recent reports, a combination of dropping fares, profitable incentives, and a lack of caps on the number of hours drivers can work during one shift has led some Uber drivers to work dangerously long shifts. Uber reports that only seven percent of its drivers work more than 50 hours per week, while more than half of its drivers use the Uber app less than ten hours a week. However, other sources report that it is not uncommon for Uber drivers to work up to 16 hours a day. Unlike Uber, some ride-hailing services limit the number of hours its drivers can work during a shift. For example, Lyft shuts off its app after 14 hours and requires drivers to wait six hours before they can access the app and begin driving again. In addition, Uber drivers reportedly receive notifications when they are not picking up enough passengers. Uber also offers incentives such as bonuses for completing a certain number of rides within a given timeframe, which can encourage drivers to continue driving despite fatigue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driver fatigue causes approximately 100,000 automobile accidents each year. Federal transportation laws require “passenger-carrying commercial vehicles” to drive for no longer than ten hours at a time, and to take a break at least eight hours in between shifts. However, because Uber is not regulated as a common carrier, they do not have to comply with federal transportation laws. Although several cities, including Chicago and New York City, have already taken steps to limit the number of hours drivers can work during one shift, Houston is not among these cities.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a vehicle operated by an Uber driver, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.