Uber Fights To Put Driver Safety At Risk

What kind of company would fight attempts to limit its workers from working excessively long hours, then turn around and try to sell disability insurance policies to those same workers?  Uber, of course.

Uber is fighting, in its inimitable tooth and nail style, a proposal in Massachusetts that would limit drivers to a mere 12 consecutive hours, or 16 hours in a single day.  That’s right:  Uber wants its drivers to be able to drive for more than sixteen hours in a day, every day.

Maybe Uber hasn’t read the literaturefatigue causes accidents.  That research shows that fatigue can cause slower reaction times, more errors and decreased cognitive ability.  Fatigue worsens hand-eye coordination. As one report put it, “Drowsy driving can make your driving worse than if you have been drinking alcohol.”  Uber shrugged off these concerns in a letter to Massachusetts regulators, saying that it found a 70-hour per week limitation on driving “particularly problematic,” since “many individuals in many different industries work 70 hours in a seven-day period.”  Maybe so.  But for drivers carrying passengers, the  Department of Transportation has rules specifying generally that these drivers can’t be on the road for more than 60 hours over 7 consecutive days.

If you think Uber’s opposition to this reasonable rule is shocking, wait until you hear this:  while Uber wants its drivers to be able to drive unlimited hours, it will sell them insurance against the accidents that are sure to occur.  The company has recently announced a new accident insurance plan that it is piloting in eight states, including Massachusetts.

Just as Uber is taking no responsibility for its drivers’ and passengers’ safety, it is not paying for this new insurance:  drivers and consumers are.  According to news reports, the company’s new plan involves charging its riders a five-cent-per-mile surcharge for Uber-provided personal injury insurance to benefit drivers…

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