Uber Is Cutting Down Shifts to 12 Hours a Day in NYC to Prevent Fatigue

Being self-employed is great, but it also brings some risks with it, especially when your payment is directly correlated to how many hours you work. Driving for Uber isn’t quite the equivalent of being self-employed, but the second part is true.
Uber hailing app 1 photo
Photo: Mark Warner on Flickr
You have nothing better to do at home, so you might as well remain on the street, make some more money. Have one more coffee, sip some energy drink, get out of the car and stretch for a minute or so and you’re good to go.

The thing is, fatigue is a cruel mistress. It sneaks up on you without even knowing, halving your reflex times or, in extreme situations, shutting down your eyelids completely for a few seconds. In a crowded city like New York, a few seconds is all you need to screw things up.

Cab drivers and other professional drivers have very strict 12-hour shifts policy, but as the recent incident where a yellow-taxi driver fatally injured an 88-year-old woman crossing the street shows, these rules aren’t always respected. Salifu Abubkar, the driver guilty of the incident, had been driving for 16 hours straight when it happened, and there’s no telling whether he was on his way home.

Up until now, Uber drivers didn’t have to worry about shifts. The only restriction imposed by the company was that the drivers didn’t work for more than 100 hours a week, which translates to about 14 hours and 15 minutes a day. However, the rules didn’t prevent a driver from completing all his 100 hours one after the other, assuming something like that was even possible. And even though there are no reports of Uber drivers working for 100 hours straight, the New York Post did find some who went between 16 to 19 hours straight on a regular basis.

That’s about to change as Uber is looking to make safety one of its priorities and prevent fatigue among its drivers by imposing a maximum daily shift of 12 hours, just like the rest of the taxi drivers. Those who will breach this new regulation face deactivation, and recidivists will be permanently excluded from the platform.

It’s easy to assume that some Uber drivers won’t be too happy about this, especially since they also had to endure a 15 percent drop in fares recently, a decision made by the company to revitalize the slow winter months, but some drivers claimed it made them work more hours just to compensate for the lower price. With Uber drivers already protesting over the lower fares, they now have another reason to get angry. The Verge reports that they might even stage a Valentine’s Day strike, but the surge pricing might make them change their minds. Again.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
Vlad Mitrache profile photo

"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories