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Lytx spotlights truck driving risks in 2020 ‘State of the Data’ report

Jan. 21, 2021
Third annual study shows fleets made ‘strong improvements’ in key driver safety measures despite increased pandemic demand

Chicago remains the riskiest U.S. city for truck drivers, according to Lytx’s third annual “State of the Data” report, which focuses on trucking fleets.

With data captured from fleets of all sizes and types within the trucking industry, Lytx’s 2020 report reveals the riskiest states, cities and roadways in the United States, along with the riskiest days and times, and trends in risky driving behaviors, according to the provider of artificial intelligence-powered video telematics.

“2020 was an unforgettable year with unprecedented challenges for the trucking industry,” said Dave Riordan, executive vice president for Lytx enterprise business. “With the continued demands facing fleets and drivers, it has never been more important for us to identify and share key areas of risk and opportunities to help improve their safety.

“We use our dataset—the largest and most accurate of its kind—to identify and address top areas of driving risk, and to provide trucking fleets with insights they can put into action quickly to improve their safety.

Riskiest areas

Lytx captured more than 10 million risky driving incidents among trucking fleets in 2020. From all those incidents, Lytx examined single-square-mile road segments using its proprietary risk scoring system and found the following areas in the U.S. had the highest concentration of risk:

  • Allentown PA: Interstate 78, East of W. Emaus Avenue
  • Lambsburg VA: Interstate 77, near Old Pipers Gap Road
  • Albuquerque NM: Interstate 40, near Coyote Springs Road SE
  • Durham NC: Interstate 85, near University Station Road
  • Lebanon NJ: Interstate 78, near Cokesbury Road

As in past years, most of the identified riskiest road segments are near interchanges, construction zones, or on/off ramps, which increase driving risk. According to Lytx’s risk score system, these five road segments, on average, are 152 times riskier than the average road segment in Lytx’s trucking-industry database.

“We know sudden lane changes and shifts in driving speed surrounding interchanges can create a more volatile driving environment and more opportunity for dangerous incidents,” said Del Lisk, Lytx’s vice president of safety services. “We urge fleets and drivers to be aware of the increased risk in these areas and level-up their caution and defensive driving in these situations, whether you are passing through one of the segments featured here or any other highway interchange.”

Areas of Pennsylvania, and Allentown in particular, have been featured on this list in past years, with the top two riskiest roads in 2019 and top three riskiest roads in 2018.

That said, Pennsylvania improved in the overall state rankings in 2020. The riskiest states for trucking fleets in in 2020 were:

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Texas
  4. Oregon
  5. Georgia

These states overall were three times riskier than the 45 other states in Lytx’s nationwide footprint.

Lytx also examined its data in 60-by-60-square-mile areas and, for the second year in a row, identified Chicago as the riskiest U.S. city for trucking. Compared to the next riskiest city, Dallas, Chicago was 23% more risky, likely related to its role as a major transportation hub for routes in all directions.

“With a wealth of driving data paired with unmatched analytic capabilities, Lytx is able to determine driving risk and drill that down into specific cities or even intersections,” Lisk said. “While we know trucking routes may not always be flexible, we encourage managers and coaches to consider these areas of concentrated risk in supporting their drivers to approach every situation with a proactive, safety-oriented mindset.”

Riskiest days, times

Lytx found slight shifts in the days of the week and times with the highest prevalence of collisions and near-collisions. From 2018 to 2020, Lytx identified the following:

“With 24/7 demand for deliveries necessitated by the pandemic, we’ve observed a shift in the days of the week with the most and least collisions,” Lisk said. “Compared to past years, fleets may have more routes and deliveries early in the week, rather than starting the week slowly. This could be a factor in Sunday having the fewest collisions and Tuesday having the most collisions.”

Risk trends

Even with increased demand in 2020, Lytx trucking clients showed strong improvements in several key, high-risk behaviors, including:

Compared to other fleet types, trucking showed strengths in several areas, including:

“Trucking professionals are clearly working hard to proactively approach safety to protect themselves and the communities they serve,” Lisk said. “For drivers spending long hours on the road and driving longer distances than other transportation-adjacent industries, this is a remarkable feat.”

Lytx’s data also found these risky behaviors increasing among truck fleets:

“We share this information as an opportunity to shed light on the areas where drivers, managers and coaches should pay special attention in order to approach safe driving proactively,” Riordan said. “From recognizing when and where truck drivers may face more risky behaviors or higher collision rates to understanding exactly which behaviors are proving challenging for the industry, we hope these unique insights from Lytx can help the trucking industry stay informed as drivers head out on the roads this year.

“We maintain our commitment to helping fleets raise the bar for safety as we continue to innovate our machine vision and artificial intelligence capabilities to uncover even further insights about driving risk in the trucking industry.”

About the Data

These insights were derived from Lytx’s database of trucking driving data from 2019 and 2020, including more than 10 million risky truck driving events captured last year. For comparisons across industries, Lytx calculated behavior averages from its global database, which contains driving data from utilities, distribution, concrete, construction, services, transit, government and waste industries. Lytx maintains the fastest-growing proprietary database of professional driving data in the world, currently surpassing 120 billion miles of driving data. The data is anonymized, normalized and in instances of behavior prevalence, is generalizable to trucking fleets at large.

About the Author

BT staff