New Uber Feature To Attempt To Enforce Rest Periods For Drivers

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The company said in a blog post it's introducing the time limit to "do our part to help prevent drowsy driving".

This is Uber's first nationwide move to restrict the amount of time drivers spend on the road, although the company does require drivers in New York City to comply with the city's 10-hour limit, imposed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

However, there is nothing stopping an Uber driver from driving 12 hours and then immediately switching to Lyft to keep working.

There are some caveats to the US rule: while short waits at stoplights will count against workers' driving time, any idling lasting more than five minutes (at airport terminals, for example) will not count. When the six-hour break is over, the app will once again unlock itself for bookings. But longer waits such as those in airport cues, and other idling exceeding five minutes, will not count. That's why the app will provide notifications when you're nearing that 12 hour limit, effectively counting down so that it's fully transparent and not surprising to a driver when they max out.

In some jurisdictions, which have existing driving time limits, the feature will be adjusted to meet local requirements. 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.

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In the US, Uber had capped driver hours in just a small handful of cities, including NY and Chicago. According to Scott Coriell, spokesman for Lyft, "the company's drivers must take a 6-hour break for every 14 hours they're in driver mode".

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". Sherpashare, a driver assistant app, estimated that almost three-quarters of drivers use more than one service. We want to promote safe and responsible use of our app.

Attempts by contractors to get more favourable treatment out of such companies have always been stifled in court.

Now that policy will be extending to USA drivers as well, according to VentureBeat. However, US Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley cautioned that legislators may want to address the "stark dichotomy" that could result from "the creation of a low wage workforce performing low skill but highly flexible episodic jobs".

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