Are Uber doing enough to protect tired drivers?

Date:Dec 05, 2018

Months after an Uber driver was charged with the death of a passenger, drivers working for the ride-sharing app are calling for tougher regulations to address fatigue on the job. But are such recommendations strong enough to prevent injury and death from drivers' negligent actions?

The reason behind the regulations

On 17 June 2017, a British man in his 20s was killed instantly by a passing bus when stepping out of his Uber. Police stated that the defendant dropped his passenger at a set of lights in the CBD and accelerated suddenly which caused the man to fall onto the road and into the path of a bus.

The incident occurred around 3:15 a.m. In court, the driver was found to have been driving for 21 hours before the incident, with seven hours' sleep split into two lots.

Despite surveillance footage and eye-witness reports, the driver denied responsibility for his passenger's death. He claimed he did not hear the car door open nor notice the interior light turn on before taking off.

However, the magistrate said the driver did not keep a proper lookout and should have noticed the interior light illuminate. The footage showed the light was on for six seconds before the car accelerated, and it was brightly shining and not dim.

As he had breached the reasonable care of a driver in his position, he was charged with the death of his passenger in November 2018.

What have Uber done to prevent the problem?

Months after the revelations appeared surrounding its drivers' extreme fatigue levels, Uber implemented a new safety feature. Here, the app automatically logged drivers out of the system for six hours after they have been online and driving for 12 hours. While the app-sharing service was praised for its responsive action, people soon found fault within the feature. Users found that it stopped calculating when drivers stopped at traffic lights or for passenger pickups, so some users were working for up to 15 hours. 

Furthermore, because some drivers worked for more than one ride-sharing entity, Uber simply couldn't manage what the driver was doing outside of their safety feature. Therefore, experts think that the problem needs to be escalated to government level to ensure change happens. One idea referenced a centralised portal that could track driver hours across multiple apps. 

Unfortunately, motor vehicle injuries caused by another's negligent actions are an all too common occurrence. Thankfully, it's a subject we're well versed in. Here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we've successfully dealt with countless car accident compensation claims. If you're wondering what damages you're entitled to, get in touch with the team today.  

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