U.S. fleets reduced their risky driving by a significant 29% in 2022 when compared to 2019, the last “normal year” before Covid-19-related disruptions, according to video telematics provider Lytx.
Collisions per million miles driven also dropped 23.1% in the same period, the report said.
Lytx’s annual “state of the data” report reviewed more than 36 billion miles (58 million km) of driving data.
Looking at data from 2019-22, roads continued to present dangers as traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities showed signs of leveling off in 2022 but remained elevated after two years of dramatic increases.
NHSTA estimated there were 31,785 traffic fatalities in the U.S. in the first nine months of 2022. While tragic, this was a decrease of 100 compared to the same period in 2021, even as the Federal Highway Administration showed that vehicle miles traveled in the first nine months of 2022 increased by around 39 billion miles (63 billion km).
According to the Lytx data and analytics, drivers showed measurably safer and more attentive driving habits as traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in fewer collisions per distance driven.
Drivers showed significant improvement in certain risky driving behaviors, when comparing 2022 to recent years. This progress can be attributed to more fleets employing coaching tools and workflows that allow fleet managers and drivers to work together to identify ways to improve and reward risk reduction, the company added.
Top risky driving behaviors
The five most improved risky driving behaviors captured by Lytx devices from 2021 to 2022 were: not scanning the roadway (down 18%); blank stare (down 16%); driving too fast for conditions (down 11%); driver unbelted on a residential road (down 10%); and veering off an identifiable roadway (down 9%).
While various driving habits improved over the last year, “driving too fast for conditions” was also the most improved risky driving habit when comparing 2022 to 2020. It was down 52% in that period, and down 74% when comparing 2022 to 2019.
The report said the top five riskiest driving cities in the U.S. were New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas/Fort Worth.
The top five riskiest public roadways were in:
- Michigan (I-94 at Merriman Road, Romulus) – a complex airport interchange;
- New York (George Washington Bridge near Riverside Drive, N.Y.)
- California (Edom Hill Road and Varner Road, Desert Hot Springs) – for a lack of lane markings;
- New Jersey (NJ19 and I-80 in Paterson) – a complex interchange, with highways terminating into city streets;
- and Connecticut (I-95 near Fulton Terrace, New Haven) – a curved freeway entering the busy port of New Haven.
Dangerous airports, times and days
Airports have emerged as some of the country’s most dangerous areas. Fourteen out of 30 of the highest-risk sections of public and private roadways in 2022 were within two miles of airports. This was up 86% from 2021, when eight of the top 30 highest-risk roadways were near airports.
The top five high-risk airports to drive around are Denver International, John Glenn Columbus International, Phoenix Sky Harbor, John F. Kennedy International, and Newark Liberty International.
It also matters when you drive. In 2022, the highest total number of collisions occurred during daytime hours (6 a.m.- 4 p.m.), with most occurring at 11 a.m. But the highest number of collisions per vehicle occurred in the middle of the night (2-6 a.m.), with the highest totals at 2 a.m.
The day of the week was also a factor. In 2022, the highest number of collisions per vehicle occurred on Tuesdays. Saturdays represented the safest day of the week, with the lowest collisions per vehicle. Sundays were the second safest day.
Findings suggest that high weekday commuter traffic closely correlates to a higher number of collisions.
Animal strikes and weather
Data showed that most collisions happen in clear weather, too, often due to animal strikes.
While 13.1% of collisions occurred during rainy weather, 83.9% occurred in clear conditions, with only 2.9% occurring in snowy weather and 0.1% in foggy conditions. Animal strikes accounted for 29.7% of the collisions in clear weather and 9.4% in rainy conditions. In contrast, fixed objects accounted for 11.7% of accidents in clear conditions and 16% in rainy conditions.
Lytx data also revealed that vehicles spent less timing idling in 2022 compared to 2021. Idle times for Lytx clients dropped about 16%, preventing more than 90 million tons of CO2 emissions and more than US$24 million in wasted fuel.
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