The title advice can be applied to just about anybody you know. Is it a friend or family member giving you a lift from point A to point B? Your carpool or vanpool driver? It’s never impolite to ask about their ability to stay alert about driving; you could be preventing an accident. But what about commercial drivers for hire?
Services like Lyft and Uber must, and do, make driver fatigue a priority.
- Just about a year ago, Uber rolled out some new requirements nationwide regarding driver review, which include observations about driver alertness.
- If you consider this SF Weekly commentary on fatigued Uber drivers from May 2, 2016, or this videotaped footage about the realities of driving for Uber in this broadcast exposé in New York City last spring (NBC New York, May 24, 2016), some form of tracking and fatigue management regulations are probably a good idea.
- However, privacy concerns are propelling Uber drivers to fight back against these efforts, according to this January 5, 2017 report in Gothamist.
- Meanwhile, India—the second largest population to use Uber services after the US—has rolled out the latest ride-sharing company’s regulations (Voice & Data, January 13, 2017).
- In addition, DNA India reports that Uber has partnered with Apollo Hospitals to equip thousands of “5-star” drivers with first aid kits and launch a series of multilingual training videos on handling road accidents.
- VroomGirls took on the subject as well last May, discussing options for students that included reports of Toyota handing out free Uber vouchers for students in need of rides when they are too sleepy to do so themselves.
- It’s not surprising to learn in the same VroomGirls report that Toyota is also investing in new safety features that may eventually lead to the no-longer-futuristic vision of driverless vehicles.
- Whether this alternative ever takes off is another story: Q13 Fox reports on the growing backlash against self-driving cars on January 10, 2017.
- Technology to prevent drowsy driving is in constant development these days, and this May 19, 2016 AutoGuide report helps explain how these new technologies work.
Cabs, taxis, limousines, and other traditional drivers for hire
Uber may be popular, but conventional hired transportation is still a preferred choice among those who need frequent trips across town, to or from an airport, or between venues while traveling.
It’s not safe to assume that, because these transport services are run by professionals, their drivers have good sleep health. Their drivers, like all human beings, can be affected just as much by sleep disorders, restrictions to sleep caused by job duties, and stress.
- Last spring, a photo of a sleeping taxi driver in Canada quickly circulated, raising renewed awareness and interest in drowsy driving regulations for cab drivers (Global News, June 3, 2016).
- “A taxi driver who dozed off at the wheel and crashed into a lamppost at Sumburgh Airport has been banned from the road and is set to lose her job,” reads the Shetland News headline for their report published November 9, 2016.
- This happened less than two weeks after a deadly taxi-motorcyle collision from 2014 inspired a coroner elsewhere in the UK to launch an inquest into a local cab firm, which had received complaints of the same driver “swerving between lanes” just two hours before that fatal accident (Daily Mail, October 27, 2016).
- Meanwhile, on January 9, 2017, in Thailand, Phuket News described yet another accident in which a taxi driver fell asleep at the wheel and killed a motorcyclist in a subsequent collision as a result.
- Closer to home, controversial rules about driver fatigue among hired transportation workers, imposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in concert with the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission last spring, continue to draw protests, from cab services and their rideshare competitors alike (New York Post, January 8, 2017).
Buses (private and public)
Public and private transportation in the form of buses has its share of tragic stories to tell, as well. Here is just a tiny sample of what’s crossed SHC’s digital desk over the last year:
- January 21, 2017 || ABC News || Verona, Italy: “Budapest Mourns as 16 Die in Fiery Bus Crash
- January 19, 2017 || Pulse News Agency || Agege, Lagos, Nigeria: “School bus driver falls asleep behind wheel: ‘get off at next stop’ parents text to frightened kids“
- December 29, 2016 || Inquisitr || Shelton, CT: “School bus driver falls asleep behind wheel: ‘get off at next stop’ parents text to frightened kids“
- December 29, 2016 || Detroit Patch || Detroit, MI: “1 Killed in Second Detroit Bus Crash in 2 Days: Police think the driver either fell asleep or suffered a medical emergency at the wheel in Thursday morning head-on collision“
- October 25, 2016 || Southern California Public Radio || Palm Springs, CA: “Driver from fatal casino tour bus crash previously appeared to fall asleep at wheel, passenger says“
- October 15, 2016 || The Olive Press || Marbella, Spain: “Marbella resident involved in fatal bus crash in Morocco after driver fell asleep at the wheel“
- August 2, 2016 || The Daily Courier || Atwater, CA: “Highway pole rips through bus in California crash, killing 5“
- June 1, 2016 || The Economic Times || Kolkata, New Delhi, India: “DGCA blames Jet Airways’ bus driver in Air India mishap“
- May 31, 2016 || Arizona Republic || Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico: “Police: Driver in Arizona-Mexico bus crash fell asleep“
- May 15, 2016 || ABC News Australia || Clybucca, NWS, Australia: “Deadly stretch of Pacific Highway to be bypassed today, 27 years after bus crash“