Uber Will Soon Force Drivers To Take Mandatory Breaks After Extended Shifts

Uber is getting serious about keeping drowsy drivers off the road

Uber is getting serious about keeping drowsy drivers off the road

In a new update to its app announced Monday, Uber drivers will now be forced to take a six-hour break after a total of 12 hours of driving time. To that end, in January we reported on the company's decision to institute mandatory six-hour rest breaks for their UK-based drivers, a move Uber made in the interest of ensuring their drivers "don't drive exhausted". A second warning will come after the 11th hour, and a third notification will serve as a 30-minute warning. Uber is updating the driver version of the app so that it logs off after counting 12 hours of driving, and drivers will not be able to log on until after the app registers six hours offline.

Ever hail an Uber in the early hours and wonder if your driver is awake enough to get you home safely? But that's not the only reason for Uber to enforce mandatory breaks.

In a blog post, the company said it will "strengthen our approach to help keep riders and drivers safe on the road while preserving the flexibility drivers tell us they love".

After a barrage of criticism, Uber agreed to limit Big Apple Uber drivers to 12 hour shifts (the same standard used for city taxi drivers).

Uber is driven by a desire to improve safety as well as raise awareness of drowsy driving. "The approach we have taken is irrespective of who's responsible for managing this". Longer waits such when a driver is waiting in airport queues, and whiling away beyond five minutes will not be counted. It's quite likely that the app won't even stop those who work more than 12 hours. The company is already taking measures that will ensure that passengers are not paired with drivers reaching the upper limit of their work time.

For those drivers who shuttle people around for more than 12-hour shifts, they'll now be closer in line with federal regulations for truck drivers. This mandated break is similar to the one Uber implemented in the United Kingdom last month.

In 2017, Uber fought a proposal in MA to limit drivers to 16 hours a day, or 70 hours a week, calling it (pdf, p. 10) "unworkable" and "overly burdensome".

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