Lytx data reveals the effect of the solar eclipse on USA’s commercial transport


Video telematics company, Lytx, has studied its data to reveal what the country’s commercial vehicle drivers were up to while most of the USA took an hour off work to observe what they could of last week’s total solar eclipse.

Lytx is the maker of the DriveCam video safety program, which analyzes video clips triggered by driving events, such as a hard swerve or sudden braking. The video clips provide insight into driver behavior at the time of the event. More than 2,200 commercial and government fleets comprising more than 400,000 vehicles use the DriveCam program, which allows operators to improve safety and lower operating and insurance costs, while achieving greater efficiency and compliance.

Analyzing its database of more than 70 billion driving miles (112.6bn km), Lytx looked back at driving event data for the daylight hours of Mondays for the past five months to benchmark the normal volume and types of driving behavior. For the study, the company reviewed 43 behaviors associated with driving events of 239,000 vehicles on 20 consecutive Mondays leading up to August 14, the Monday before the eclipse, and separately analyzed the same data set for driving events captured during the daylight hours of August 21, the day of the eclipse. The vehicles spanned all commercial driving segments: trucking, distribution, waste, transit, construction and services.

Lytx then compared the benchmark data with driving events during the day of the solar eclipse. The data reveals that the rate of drivers ‘off identifiable roadway’ or pulling off to the side of the road, was 68% higher on the day of the eclipse, and events involving ‘other communications device’ or something other than a cell phone, were 47% higher. The conclusions reached indicate that commercial drivers, as a group, were just as fascinated by the eclipse as the rest of the country, and were just as likely to pull over and take a picture. Lytx says another telltale sign was that vehicles recorded as ‘driving faster than the posted speed limit’ increased by 35% on the day of the eclipse, which could be explained as drivers trying to make up time after taking a break to watch the celestial events unfold.

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).