Report: Trucks Speeds Increase as COVID Drives Down Traffic

As the COVID pandemic kept millions of vehicles off North American roads in 2020, average vehicle speeds, including from trucks, have increased, according to data compiled by Internet of Things company Samsara.

As reported by Freighwaves, while traffic declined, trucks are travelling driving faster than ever in the U.S. That has resulted in more miles per day as drivers try to keep pace with the demands of American consumers navigating through COVID lockdowns that have resulted in booming e-commerce business and essential goods shortages.

Analyzing data from 3,676 commercial fleet customers, Samsara has found that fleets are busier than ever.

“Overall, 2020 has been busier than 2019 for fleets in the food and beverage, transportation and warehousing, and retail industries. Across these industries, fleets are driving about 10% more miles per day compared to 2019, with only about 5% more vehicles on the road,” the company wrote in a blog post on the subject.

Samsara, which provides dashcams, sensors and other safety and compliance reporting tools, found that travelling at least 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, has risen 20% above a pre-COVID-19 baseline established in April.

“Our data shows that the days most prone to speeding are the holidays themselves, likely due to emptier roads,” Ali Akhtar, Samsara’s director of data science, wrote in the blog. “In 2019, speeding was 4% higher than average on Thanksgiving Day and nearly 15% higher on Christmas Day. This year, speeding was 9% higher on Thanksgiving Day (more than double the increase on Thanksgiving Day last year), and we predict that speeding will spike again on Christmas Day this year.”

A sample of the amount of time truck drivers spent speeding, by day, during the month of November.

“Our hypothesis? This 2020 increase in speeding is likely caused by emptier roads due to COVID-19,” Akhtar wrote. “This trend could become even more apparent as we approach Christmas, since our data shows that speeding tends to spike on holidays.”

Ontario and Quebec and the first two jurisdictions in North America to require speed limiters on all truck entering those provinces. The Canadian Trucking Alliance supports speed limiters nationally.

Full story here.

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