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Commercial drivers’ ‘Covid caution’ wearing off

Commercial drivers’ ‘Covid caution’ wearing off

Risky driving behaviours among the UK’s commercial fleets are starting to return to pre-Covid levels, according to new data. 

Fleet video telematics provider Lytx said that levels of risky driving dropped dramatically in the first three weeks of lockdown, but has now risen again. However, it’s still not as high as before the pandemic began.

Lytx compared anonymised client data from the period of 27 April to 31 May with data from the first three weeks of lockdown. It showed there was an increase of 49% in drivers not wearing a seatbelt, 43% in drivers using a handheld device such as a mobile phone, and a 36% increase in smoking while in charge of a vehicle. 

Driver stress

The company blamed the stress of lockdown for this rise. It said that increased pressure to deliver essential goods, plus distractions at home, were among the factors taking their toll on commercial drivers.

Damian Penney, Vice President of Lytx Europe said: ‘‘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.’’

Remote training

The data was derived from Lytx’s UK driving-risk database, covering public and private fleets in the transit, parcel, distribution and service industries.

It could be alarming news to managers currently looking to get their full fleets back on the road as lockdown eases. 

Mr Penney suggested that while it’s currently hard to deliver face-to-face safety training to drivers, managers could turn to remote training options to boost awareness of hazardous habits. 

Have you noticed a change in driving habits on the UK’s roads as lockdown wears on?

 

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