Lytx data shows reduction in truck driver fatigue

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Drowsy driving, late response times, and falling asleep at the wheel have all decreased in the trucking sector between November 2018 and August 2019.

Fleet and compliance management solutions company Lytx provided its “State of the Data” presentation during the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Management Conference and Exhibition (MCE) today in San Diego, Calif.

Kyle Warlick, client intelligence analyst for Lytx, outlined how his company compiles its data with the stages of an event. Lytx DriveCam records an event, capturing risky driving behavior, and then artificial intelligence evaluates the event. Lytx then reviews each event and delivers the findings to their customers’ account, which can then be used for training and coaching purposes.

Lytx statistics include more than 100 billion miles analyzed from 575,000 connected vehicles.

Through this collection of data, Warlick said the days and times identified as being the most dangerous for truck drivers is Thursday, when the most collisions occur, and Wednesday for most near-collisions. Times of day with more collisions and near-collisions are between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday is when a collision is least likely.

“Looking at the data, it kind of makes sense because getting closer to the end of the week, drivers get more fatigued,” said Warlick.

Kyle Warlick Lytx
Kyle Warlick.

In addition to drops in drowsy driving by 25%, late response times by 24%, and falling asleep by 21%, collision and near collisions have also dropped for truck drivers by 16% and 13% respectively.

Compared to other motorists, commercial truck drivers are also good at avoiding loose objects in the cab, aggressive driving behaviors, and driving with a blank stare.

“As truck drivers generally drive for the longest periods of time and distance compared to other industries, it’s incredibly impressive these professionals have the lowest instances of blank stare, which we’ve found to be one of the most dangerous behaviors a driver can exhibit,” said Del Lisk, vice-president of safety services at Lytx. “Training drivers how to remain engaged while driving, especially on long stretches of road, should be a priority for every fleet manager and driver coach. It’s very gratifying to see the trucking industry excel in avoiding this high-risk behavior.”

But not all is perfect in the truck driving community.

The most prevalent risky driving behaviors in the industry include failing to wear a seatbelt, a trend that is increasing. Cellphone use and speed violations are also on the rise, while following distance of one to two seconds, though an issue, is decreasing.

“Drivers sometimes have a false sense of safety and security in large trucks due to vehicle size and may fail to recognize the importance of seat belt use, especially in rollover crashes,” said Lisk.

Lytx has also identified the riskiest roads in the U.S. and Canada. Pennsylvania’s Route 309 intersection with Route 145 near Allentown, as well as Route 309 east of West Emaus Ave. top the list.

Chicago is considered the riskiest city for truck drivers, 18% more dangerous than second on the list, New York/Newark.

Warlick said the data has also found that the first snowfall is the riskiest day for truckers, but drivers tend to exhibit the same driving behaviors regardless of where they are located and whether adverse weather is possible in the area.

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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