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If you’ve ever driven a long distance, then you know that driver fatigue is a real thing. Your eyes start to get a little blurry from focusing so much, especially if you are driving in inclement weather or at night. Your limbs may start to get stiff from being in the same position. One way around this is to use one of the ridesharing services that have become increasingly popular here in Houston. Two of the ones that have seemed to capture the largest share of the market are Uber and Lyft

These services are convenient, affordable, and make it easy to plan a trip. However, just like you, Uber and Lyft drivers are not immune from driver fatigue, which is why both ridesharing services set limits on the hours they can drive. If you have been injured in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, it will be important for your Uber and Lyft driver accident attorney to make sure the driver in question complied with the driving hour limits.

Why are there driving hour limits?

Driving can be an enjoyable experience, but the longer we drive, the more impact it has on our bodies. This is referred to as driver fatigue and it can lead to accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 91,000 traffic accidents were caused by drowsy drivers in 2017 alone. The NHTSA goes on to suggest that adequate sleep and rest will reduce the chances of getting into an accident caused by fatigue and drowsiness. 

For rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber, they have a vested interest in making sure their drivers do not get into collisions. By limiting the number of hours a rideshare driver can work, these companies reduce the risk of accidents that can damage their finances and reputations.

Does Uber limit driver hours?

The answer is yes. Since 2018, Uber has restricted its drivers to just 12-hour shifts. This means that once the driver has been on the road for 12 hours, he or she can no longer take on passengers. If the driver is already on a trip with a passenger when he or she hits the limit, the driver can complete the trip but then must go off duty. The driving time includes the periods when the driver is between fares. 

The way it works is that the Uber driver has a 12-hour clock. This clock can be reset at any time by the driver going off duty for 6 consecutive hours. So, the Uber driver does not have to wait 12 hours to reset his or her 12-hour clock. This is all done through the driver-side Uber app, so the driving and rest periods are tracked.

Does Lyft limit driver hours?

Lyft takes a similar approach to Uber. Lyft has what it refers to as “driver mode.” This is the time when the driver is in his or her car and on the Lyft app, ready to take on passengers. Much like Uber, Lyft limits drivers to a maximum of 12 hours in driver mode. Once this limit has been met, the Lyft driver must take a 6-hour break. While Lyft has special rules and regulations for certain cities, Houston Lyft drivers are governed by this standard 12-hour rule. All of these hours are tracked for each driver through the Lyft app.

What are the rules for other commercial drivers in Houston?

Texas has rules governing the amount of time commercial drivers are allowed to operate. For example, commercial truck drivers are allowed to drive up to 12-hour shifts but must take 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time before they are allowed back on the road. In addition, they cannot drive more than 70 hours in any span of seven consecutive days. This is different from Lyft and Uber since it requires an additional two hours of rest for truck drivers.

There are also special rules governing taxi drivers in Houston. Under Section 46-113 of the Houston Code of Ordinance, taxi drivers cannot drive more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period. This is also different from Lyft and Uber. Since the rideshare driver only has to take a 6-hour break, he or she could presumably drive up to 18 hours in a 24-hour period. It is unclear if the ability of Lyft and Uber drivers to put in more hours than other commercial drivers makes them more likely to get drowsy, increasing the risk of an accident.

If you have been injured while riding in a Lyft or Uber, call our firm today

While ridesharing is a convenient way to get around Houston, there is always the chance that you may get injured as a result of the actions or negligence of your Lyft or Uber driver. If this happens to you, call Hernandez Sunosky, LLP today. Our experienced attorneys can help you with your injury claim. We are fluent in Spanish and offer a free consultation.