Risky driver behavior returning to pre-Coronavirus levels

Improvements in driver behavior witnessed at the start of the Coronavirus lockdown have rapidly declined, according to Lytx.

The video telematics provider said the level of risky driving behaviours dropped dramatically in the first three weeks of lockdown, but it has seen a “definitive increase” in certain behaviors during the second three weeks.

From April 27 to May 31 the company says there has been a 49% increase in drivers not wearing a seatbelt, a 43% increase in drivers using a handheld device and a 36% increase in smoking while driving.

Damian Penney, vice president of Lytx Europe, said: ‘‘It’s important to note that risky behaviour levels are still lower than they were during the same period in 2019, but they are rapidly returning to pre-Covid levels.’

‘‘While drivers will often experience seasonal peaks, internet orders and home deliveries have increased as people comply with the lockdown. This, coupled with reduced driver numbers due to self-isolation or illness, has resulted in increased pressure for those out on the road. Unsurprisingly, the data suggests that this added strain may have caused a change in focus amongst some drivers.’’

Usually in these situations, face-to-face coaching would take place to address any risky behaviours and to reward safe driving. In the current situation, many fleets are turning to remote coaching as an alternative way to ensure that personalised conversations are still taking place.

Penney added: “These insights can be utilised by fleet managers to minimise the possibility of risk as they plan for the ‘return to normal’ and look to get the entire fleet back up and running. Whether that’s re-emphasising their current safety programme, or adding a safety solution where one doesn’t exist currently, our data can help fleet managers make informed decisions around training, as well as increased support for drivers as they get back behind the wheel.’’

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