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article imageCOVID-19: Car sharing presents a 'major risk'

By Tim Sandle     Sep 14, 2020 in Health
For staff who cannot work from home, or who have less enlightened employers who will not allow remote working, car sharing is a popular means to get to work, saving on time and money. This practice, however, carries COVID-19 risks.
Car sharing or carpooling carries risks in terms of coronavirus infection. Yet many are reliant on this form of transport to get to work. Where this is the case, what measures should be taken?
According to the U.K. government, car sharing should ideally be with people from the same household. Where this is not possible, the government recommends that 'journeys should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time.' In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding carpooling or sharing a ride with another passenger. The activity of car sharing comes with acknowledged risks.
In order to minimize the risks associated with car sharing:
In a standard car, occupancy should be restricted to the driver and one passenger.
Always car share with the same person.
New surgical face masks must be worn by both the driver and the passenger; face masks need to be replaced between journeys.
It is recommended that journeys are no longer than one hours' duration.
Passengers should avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by the driver.
The passenger should sit in the rear of the car, directly behind the driver (and not perpendicular to the driver).
The driver and passenger must keep their windows wound down at all times. This increases the rate of ventilation.
The driver and passenger must face away from each other and not engage in conversation.
Between each journey, the inside of the car should be disinfected with disinfectant alcohol (at the appropriate concentration).
Gloves should be worn during the disinfecting activity.
Of the above, ensuring adequate ventilation is important (and most cars have poor ventilation), so opening windows is important.
When disinfecting the vehicle, focal points should include the steering wheel, infotainment controls, control stalks, ignition and power button, car keys, air vents, gear stick, heating controls, seat belts and holders, head rests, and door handles. Disinfectant cannot be easily applied to fabric and may damage the seat material. Such measures are necessary because the coronavirus can survive for up to 72 hours on most standard materials.
These practicalities should extend to taxi services and car hire. While there has been a reduction in the take-up of mobility-as-a-service solutions during the coronavirus pandemic, such measures are necessary in order to protect individuals.
More about Car sharing, daily commute, Commuters, coronavirus, Covid19
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