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Lytx: New Insights into Distracted Driving Among Commercial Drivers

Lytx highlights new trends in risky and distracted driving behaviors among commercial drivers.

Lytx, a global provider of video telematics, analytics, productivity and safety solutions for commercial and public sector fleets, unveiled new information about commercial driving and distraction.

In April, which is recognized as the National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Lytx released new insights to help recognize the dangers of and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving. Every day, at least nine Americans die in distracted driving crashes. In commercial vehicle fleets, distraction (related to cellphone use, eating or general inattention) is the second leading driver-related cause of fatal truck crashes.

“There are 6.1 million commercial motor vehicle drivers in the United States and millions more around the world,” said Brandon Nixon, Lytx chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Our dream is that no commercial driver will ever be the cause of a collision. Through the work we’re doing to help fleets stay safe, we have a great opportunity to make that dream a reality. We use our billions of miles of driving data to train artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to detect risk, and we use our advanced data analytics to identify risky behaviors and help fleets do something about distracted driving.”

Lytx, leveraging its machine vision and AI technology, said it has collected more than 100 billion miles of driving data and 100,000 risky driving events captured by video every day.

Here are some of the trends captured by Lytx’s data:

  • Risky behaviors behind the wheel tend to cluster, meaning drivers who engage in one potentially risky behavior are often found engaging in other risky behaviors at the same time. For instance, drivers who eat while driving also tend to drive unbelted or follow the vehicle in front of them too closely. Lytx found that 23 percent of all its scored events included a driver engaging in multiple potentially risky behaviors.
  • While 65 percent of all cellphone use was hands-free in 2018, up from 27 percent in 2016, Lytx also found a 13 percent increase in the overall volume of risky driving behavior involving handheld cellphones during the same time.
  • Lytx found a 10 percent increase in the overall volume of events in which drivers using hands-free devices engaged in one or more other potentially risky distractions as well, such as eating, drinking, smoking or using another device.
  • This combination of distractions magnifies risk. A multitasking driver engaged in multiple potentially risky distracting behaviors has a 100 percent increase in risk over a driver engaged in one potentially risky, distracting behavior.
  • Driver cellphone use occurs most frequently at 65 miles per hour.

“Identifying the underlying causes of risky behaviors and addressing the dangers of multitasking are crucial first steps to training safer drivers,” said Del Lisk, vice president of safety services at Lytx, in a statement. “We recommend managers help their drivers understand the elevated risks around them, especially during peak times associated with distraction. Also, by advising drivers to make their calls or appointments before they start driving, managers can encourage them to avoid giving into these temptations.”

“One of our clients confidentially surveyed their drivers about their use of handheld cellphones while driving,” added Lisk. “Through this survey, they discovered that more than half of all calls to their drivers were initiated by family members—the people who love them the most unknowingly potentially putting them in harm’s way. The company followed up with a program focused on educating families on the risks associated with calling their loved ones while they were driving. This is a great example of how looking for the underlying causes of risky behaviors can uncover important information. These lessons aren’t just for professional drivers. In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we can all play our part in fighting temptations on the road.”

During WasteExpo 2019 Waste360 Senior Editor Cristina Commendatore went live on Facebook with Lisk to discuss Lytx’s telematics and safety solutions as well as the company's distracted driving survey:

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