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Work-related activities increase rideshare drivers’ crash risk: study

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Chicago — A third of rideshare drivers have been involved in a crash while on the job, results of a recent study suggest.

Researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago and Johns Hopkins University surveyed 276 rideshare drivers about their driving behaviors and history of crashes. They found that cellphone use, driving while distracted or drowsy, and driving on unfamiliar roads all increased the likelihood of a crash.

Rideshare drivers rely on their cellphones to get information about new passengers and often drive as a second job, making them more susceptible to being tired behind the wheel.

A bigger distraction for these drivers may be their customers, study co-author Lee Friedman, a research professor in the UIC School of Public Health, said in a press release. He noted that these strangers can be unruly or intoxicated.

Friedman and his colleagues say they plan to expand the study by using Illinois Department of Transportation data to look at the factors behind crashes involving rideshare drivers. Those factors could include weather, road conditions, who was in a vehicle and what was happening before the crash.

That research could provide interventions that promote health and safety, better work practices, and future regulations to improve safety.

The study was published online in the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research.

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