Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Commercial Risk Management > When are Commercial Drivers Most at Risk?

Compared to the middle of their shifts, commercial drivers are 26% more likely to exhibitCommercial Lines When Are Commercial Drivers Most At Risk 4 unsafe driving than at the start and 41% at the end of their shift. This was measured by four metrics:

  • Harsh Acceleration
  • Harsh Braking
  • Distracted Driving
  • Tailgating

Since Jan. 1, 2020, 2 million such events were detected in U.S. commercial fleets. Shift lengths ranged from four to 12 hours, but these unsafe trends appeared consistent throughout.

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One statistic that jumps out is harsh acceleration. Harsh acceleration occurs 77% more often during the end of the shift than in the middle. That’s nearly double the frequency at the beginning of a shift relative to the middle (39%). Harsh braking has similar results, with 54% more likely at the end versus 28% at the beginning.

Conversely, distracted driving is 36% more likely during the first part of the shift, which is twice as much as at the middle-to-end difference.

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What factors contribute to the skewed results at the beginning and end of a shift?

  • Increased traffic in cities: Moving from local roads to highways (and vice versa) occurs more frequently at the onset or tail-end of a shift, and there are more opportunities for distraction and traffic in these areas.
  • Last-mile stops: Data shows there are more short trips (likely due to deliveries and last-mile stops) at the beginning and end of shifts, causing drivers to stop and start more frequently, which can create more opportunities for unsafe driving behavior.
  • Driver fatigue: Seven hours of sleep per night is recommended, though 37% of drivers do not hit that goal. That grogginess could dull reactions on the road at the start of the shift. And at the end of the shift, fatigue can creep in.

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By receiving an in-cab alert about harsh braking and accelerating, drivers reduced this risky behavior by 40%. Other actions that could curb risky behaviors include sharing this new data in safety meetings or company electronic communication, as well as providing data to a driver during a coaching session to reinforce the safety trainer’s mentoring.

Tim Spear, is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in the construction, oil/petroleum, and landscape industries. Through his consultative and diagnostic approach, he helps clients develop customized programs to meet their risk management needs. Comments and questions are welcome at

*data used in this article was collected by Samsara.
Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.