Driving Patterns

 Reckless Driving, Speeding,

Collisions Increase During

Pandemic, Data Shows

By Steve Rensberry 
RP News

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - 12/20/2020 - Data collected from the location-sharing app Life360 suggests that while drivers in the U.S. may be driving less because of the pandemic, a higher percentage than normal are also driving more recklessly, speeding more and having more accidents.

Cars travel along U.S. 40. Photo by S. Rensberry

    In a Dec. 17 press release, the company shared data collected between March and December 2020 and compared it to the same period in 2019.

The San-Francisco-based company has an estimated 27 million active monthly users in more than 160 countries, according to an investor notice release in February. It was expecting to grow to 35 million by the end of this year. This study took into consideration only users within the U.S.

Key findings:

  • With social distancing measures, business closures and a shift to working and learning from home for many, members in the U.S. drove 16 percent less during the pandemic, per active user (917 miles in 2020 compared to 1,092 miles in 2019).
  • Life360 noted 10 percent more car collisions during the pandemic, per miles driven than the previous year. Collisions are detected by an app safety feature that recognizes when a user is driving more than 25 miles per hour and has been in an accident, either as a driver or passenger.
  • The average monthly dispatch of emergency vehicles increased by 8 percent during the pandemic. This was generated via the app’s Crash Detection feature, which dispatches emergency responders to the exact location of an accident when help is needed.
  • Speeding events, defined as accelerating beyond 80 miles per hour, increased by 12 percent during the pandemic.
  • Distracted driving, determined by how often members use their phone while driving, increased by 9 percent during the pandemic.

Other studies in addition to Life360's have show a rise in more dangerous driving incidents during the pandemic, including one study in April by telematics provider Geotab, which shows increases in commercial transportation speeds in major U.S. cities despite fewer drivers and less traffic congestion.