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More than 80% of people surveyed have witnessed a commercial vehicle driving dangerously and 45% have seen an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

Survey shows public's skewed view of commercial drivers

Oct. 15, 2019
Findings add to reasons commercial fleets should consider video systems to mitigate risk, Verizon Connect says.

While only 3% of all severe crashes in the United States involve commercial vehicles, a survey found that 83% of drivers of passenger vehicles believe they pose less risk on the highway than truck drivers.

Likewise, the survey from Verizon Connect uncovered that people believe more accidents happen on interstates, though 70% of truck-involved fatal crashes takes place on roads other than interstate highways.

“While consumer perceptions around the level of danger posted by commercial drivers may not be fully accurate, these misconceptions persist,” said Kevin Aries, head of global product success at Verizon Connect.

The reasons behind the misconceptions are shaped by the individual experiences of respondents. More than 80% said they have witnessed a commercial vehicle driving dangerously, and 45% have seen an accident involving a commercial vehicle. In addition, a large percentage said they have witnessed commercial vehicles speeding, changing lanes abruptly, driving erratically or taking turns too quickly.

About two-thirds also said commercial drivers tend to be more focused on schedules than safety. In densely populated areas, the rate of severe crashes is increasing faster for lighter commercial vehicles (27%) than heavy-duty trucks (16%). Still, 84% of adults living in cities believe that all commercial drivers should be required to use video monitoring. That figure is 69% for those in the suburbs and 67% in rural areas.

Verizon Connect tied the survey findings into its integrated video system, aimed at helping fleet managers improve safety and mitigate risk.

“Smart video monitoring and other emerging artificial intelligence and IoT technologies are helping commercial drivers stay safe on the road and protect themselves in the event of any incident,” said Aries.

The system also features “speed overlay,” which enables fleets to view the speed of the vehicle directly within the video clip to determine if speed was the factor that caused the event, and "video on demand," which allows operations managers to request 40-second increments of available footage.

The Verizon Connect survey was conducted earlier this year by Wakefield Research and included 1,000 adults.

Verizon said in a separate research report issued earlier this year that North Dakota, New Mexico and Montana are the three riskiest states for drivers. The three safest states were Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.

That report also found harsh braking and acceleration among commercial drivers declined 22% from 2017 to 2018. Verizon Connect used information from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Census Bureau, as well as data from over 820,000 vehicles with its fleet management software between January 2017 and April 2019.

The analysis was based on average fatalities per vehicle miles traveled, fatalities per capita, average speeding events per day and average speeding events per mile.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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