Of course, theres nothing stopping drivers from switching to Lyft. 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. The post added that 60 percent of its drivers are only on the road for 10 hours or less per week. By contrast, federal regulations stipulate that bus drivers may only drive 10 consecutive hours after having had eight hours off duty. However, there is nothing stopping an Uber driver from driving 12 hours and then immediately switching to Lyft to keep working. (Many drivers work for both companies, often toggling between the two.) Lyft, however, already sets a mandatory six-hour break for every 14 hours of driving. Some states have separate rules, which the app will also take into account: for example, Virginia imposes a maximum of 13 hours of driving during a 24-hour period. Uber did not answer Ars question as to how many drivers work more than 12 hours at a stretch. I dont have any data to share today on that, wrote Susan Hendrick, an Uber spokeswoman, in an email to Ars. But even one crash is too many, as recent reports suggest. Its an issue for all who share the road. We want to encourage people to use Uber responsibly.
In order to prevent drowsy driving and improve safety, Uber is going to limit drivers in the US to a maximum of 12 hours a shift, after which itll block them from the service for six hours in the hopes that theyll take a break and recharge their batteries before getting back behind the wheel. Thats a commendable move from the ride-hailing company, and its good to see Uber taking the issue of driver fatigue seriously. However, its only rolling this out in the US for now – where nearly 60 percent of drivers use the service for under 10 hours a week. Ideally, Uber should turn on this feature for its drivers across the globe in order to prevent accidents and improve their well-being. But it may not be quite as simple as flipping a switch. Some Uber drivers Ive spoken to recently in major cities in India, including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and New Delhi, say that they routinely work long shifts because they have car loans to pay off – loans they didnt have to worry about until they signed up to drive for Uber. The promises about earnings that they heard before they joined or moved cities for havent been fulfilled. and the incentives that the company offers for completing a stipulated number of rides or serving a stipulated number of passengers keep changing – and they mostly become more difficult to achieve than before. While these drivers could certainly use a break – for their own safety, as well as for that of their passengers and others on the road – they also need a more stable source of income that doesnt cause as many sleepless nights as their long shifts. That may take a while, because cab companies are still battling each other by offering riders low fares and discounts. Heres hoping new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi can figure out a better way to do business around the world.