Since many full-time drivers switch between Uber and competitors such as Lyft throughout their workdays, it is possible they could simply time how they use the apps to attain the 12-hour-plus marathon workdays some sources allege are common in ride-hailing economy anyway. Drivers will only be able to begin accepting new trip requests after the app is deactivated for six straight hours. A second warning will then follow after the 11th hour, while a third and final notification will serve as a 30-minute warning, the Washington Post reports. But those who work longer hours are susceptible to "drowsy driving", a decreased cognitive ability to respond to traffic conditions that can lead to accidents, according to Uber. Uber is now broadening the rule to all US drivers that use its app.
The driver version of the Uber app will be updated to lock users out of the program after it has tracked 12 straight hours of driving. In its statement to the Post, Uber emphasised it was implementing the new restrictions regardless of who was technically legally responsible for controlling how long the drivers were on the road.
But it's also a public relations move: Uber has come under fire in recent years for overworking its drivers. The change was likely motivated by a string of recent setbacks for Uber in the United Kingdom and Europe, including London's transport authority declining to renew its license to operate in September 2017, citing consumer safety concerns. Sherpashare, a driver assistant app, estimated that almost three-quarters of drivers use more than one service.
In April 2016, Uber partnered with media mogul and soon-to-be Uber board member Arianna Huffington on a campaign "to end drowsy driving".
The new change might be a big wakeup call for more than 50 percent of drivers, but Uber says its a call that can't be ignored. But there is only so much Uber can do to stop its drivers from working while worn out.
"We want to do our part to help prevent drowsy driving", Kansal said. NHTSA describes drowsy driving as "a profound impairment that mimics alcohol-impaired driving in many ways".