Speeding and Traffic Enforcement 2016-2020
July 20, 2021 – The transportation industry has seen a concerning rise in speeding tickets in the past five years. Data from the FMCSA shows the steady increase across fleets of all sizes. There was a notable decrease in 2020 due to Covid-19 related enforcement cutbacks.
Source: FMCSA data, “Driver Observed” violations, https://bit.ly/3ibnCjl
As noted in a 2019 article from The Journal of Commerce, “It’s not clear whether the moving violations data, searchable on FMCSA’s analysis & information website, represents a broad increase in speeding or a law enforcement crackdown.
SpeedGauge analyzed granular telematics data from over 12,000 fleets and 1.1 million vehicles to answer the question. And the answer is unequivocal: it is “a broad increase in speeding.” Very Small fleets have increased their speeding by about 70% from 2016 to 2020. Large fleets have been the best at limiting speeding, but even among large fleets speeding has increased by more than 30% since 2016. (Note that SpeedGauge collects data from many fleets and vehicles that are not regulated by the FMCSA, however, we think the data is a fair representation of nationwide regulated vehicle driving behavior. SpeedGauge also collects data from non-Safety Center vehicles.)
Source: SpeedGauge confidential data
Very small fleets are doing the most speeding, however, it is the small and medium fleets getting the most speeding violations. Small and medium fleets probably log more miles per vehicle and have a higher chance of getting speed violations due to travelling across state lines. Even with medium sized fleets, however, they showed a 40% increase in speeding but only about an 18% increase in violations, which suggests that overall speeding is still under-enforced across the nation.
There was a very dramatic drop in the number of driving violations in 2020 due to Covid-19. This is due entirely to the decline in enforcement. Going back to 2019, it is evident that the number of violations had increased about 10-15% from the 2016 levels. Even assuming that the trend had continued, we would only expect an increase of, at most, 20%. That means that the rate of speeding is increasing 3X as fast as the rate of enforcement.
Source: FMCSA data “Enforcement by Fleet Size”, https://bit.ly/3i47X5m
With less enforcement, are your drivers more likely to speed? How does this affect the overall safety performance of the fleet? How does this affect SpeedGauge Safety Center users? Tune in to our next article to see the data and how to best apply the data to your fleet.