Uber has introduced a policy it hopes will reduce its drivers in South Africa from driving when drowsy. The new feature known as the "hours policy" will see Uber drivers in South Africa prompted to go offline for six straight hours after a total of 12 hours of driving time.

As part of the feature, drivers who do not take long enough breaks will not be able to log into the Uber app and take trips before that period expires.

"Drivers who do not take long enough breaks will not be able to log into the Uber app and take trips before that period expires."

β€œDriver-partners in South Africa are already driving responsibly but safety is one of our key pillars and we believe this new feature will be adding one more safety layer. It’s the right thing to do. We want to promote safe and responsible use of the Uber app and this feature has tremendous potential to protect not only Uber driver-partners, but also their passengers and, ultimately, all road users,” said Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to South Africa's Arrive Alive, car accidents related to driver tiredness are three-times more likely to result in serious injury or death compared to other types of road accidents. Car accidents are a severe problem in South Africa and Uber have said that this new feature is their way of trying to help prevent drowsy driving which can result in car accidents.

How it will work is that Uber drivers in South Africa will be able to track the time they spend on Uber trips and will be reminded when they’ve reached their maximum time via the app. Periodically, a driver will receive notifications when approaching the 12-hour driving time limit and then will automatically go offline for six straight hours when their max has been reached, but drivers will be able to finish any trip they’re currently on. After the six hours rest period, the driving time will be reset on the Uber app and a driver can then go online again to receive trip requests.

β€œThis move will strengthen Uber’s approach to help keep riders and drivers safe on the road while preserving the flexibility drivers tell us they love. During focus groups across Uber’s Greenlight Hubs, drivers have expressed the need for information and education sessions, so we have been including sessions which provides tips and examples such as how this will impact their businesses and how they can put together a responsible schedule for their small business, ” concluded Lits.

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