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2021 Commercial Driving Trends

By Verizon Connect November 12, 2021

For businesses based on seasonal upswings, summer is typically the busiest time; but it’s easy to speed or engage in other unsafe driving behaviors at any point during the year. It’s always the responsibility of all fleet drivers and fleet-dependent businesses to be responsible while sharing the road with the public. Before we move into autumn, let’s take a moment to look back at key commercial driving trends from the summer and apply that knowledge to the future.

Recently, Verizon Connect analyzed driving data from our database and reviewed key driving events from May through August in 2018, 2019 and 2020. This data covers the top four seasonally driven fleet industries: construction, HVAC, landscaping and pest control.

Overall trends in driving behavior

With more appointments comes a greater demand to provide timely customer service. That, coupled with fewer weather incidents impacting travel, can provide a temptation to drive a little faster or more aggressively in summer.

Harsh driving events, like speeding and hard braking, start to increase at the beginning of June and trend upward throughout the summer, especially for landscaping and HVAC fleets. But this can also happen anytime during the year, which means it’s good to keep driver safety top of mind all year long.

On average, from 2018-2020, all four industries increased speeding events 111%. From 2018 to 2020, in the summer months (May-August), we found the following driving behavior trends across construction, HVAC, Landscaping and pest control:

  • While speeding incidents rose 122%, harsh braking only increased 5%.
  • All industries saw an increase in both stops (8%) and miles driven (11%).

Snapshot: Driving behaviors by industry

Let’s take a closer look at how driving trends compare by industry.


  • Of the four industries we compared, construction saw a significant decrease in miles driven in 2020 over May through August, down 27% from 2019.
  • Overall, construction had the lowest amount of activity in stops overall and saw the largest decrease in stops in the summer months from 2018 to 2020.
  • From 2018 to 2020, construction saw the biggest drop in harsh braking incidents – down 23% in total.


  • The landscaping industry had the largest increase in harsh braking incidents over the
    years examined at 16% – versus 5% from the next highest, HVAC.
  • Compared to the other industries, landscaping had the smallest (albeit still significant)
    increase in speeding incidents from 2018 to 2020.
  • The landscaping industry was busy – it had the highest increase in stops, 16%, for the
    years examined.


  • Compared to other industries, HVAC (including plumbing) had the largest increase in speeding activity resulting in a 128% increase in speeding incidents over the years of summer months data.
  • Overall, HVAC had the second highest increase in harsh braking events from 2018 to 2020 with a 5% increase. Notably, the industry had consistent decreases in this category in May of each year.
  • HVAC averaged one harsh braking event every 40-44 miles driven over the four summer months. It stands to reason an abundance of services calls during this busy time could add pressure to drive faster or more aggressively to reach the next destination.

Pest control

  • Both miles driven and number of stops remained relatively flat (no significant increase or decrease) over the summer months from 2018 to 2020.
  • Although the pest control industry did not see a significant increase in miles driven, speeding incidents increased by 96%, the second highest increase of the four industries, in the summer months from 2018 to 2020.
  • Pest control fleets stop quite frequently in the summer months – every 7 to 8 miles from 2018 to 2020. Only the landscaping industries had more frequent stops in that same timeframe.

Snapshot: Regional takeaways

It’s also worth noting some interesting regional takeaways across the U.S.:


  • Construction had the largest increase in miles driven comparing summer 2018 to summer 2020: 101%. This could possibly be due in part to a spike in home-improvement projects that happened as customers were home during the pandemic.
  • Speeding activity peaked in summer 2020 in this region. With fewer cars on the road during lockdowns, it may have been tempting to drive faster on open streets.


  • Harsh braking events decreased or remained relatively flat year-over-year for all industries except landscaping.
  • Of the four industries, HVAC experienced the highest increase in speeding events in summer 2020 versus summer 2018. This industry also drove the most miles in 2020.
  • On average, August had the highest amount of overall driving activity from 2018 to 2020.


  • Comparing 2020 to 2018, pest control experienced the only decrease in miles driven, down 23%.
  • In the construction industry, speeding events decreased 90% in May 2020 when compared with May 2018.
  • Pest control saw a 20% decrease in stops from 2018 to 2020 in the summer months. 


  • Construction had the least number of speeding incidents year over year in the summer months.
  • Landscaping was the only industry that had a significant increase in harsh braking incidents.
  • Both pest control and construction saw a decrease in the number of stops and miles driven over the summer months from 2018 to 2020.

How to leverage technology to support safe driving

Whether during the summer months or all year round, creating and maintaining a culture of safety is key to safe operations for all fleets in all industries. Fleet drivers who engage in aggressive and unsafe driving behaviors put themselves, their vehicles and others on the road at risk. These behaviors include speeding, running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, slamming on the brakes and accelerating quickly.

Investing in fleet management technology can help you determine where safety issues exist and where accident prevention measures and other safety standards can be improved. This technology can help you:

  • Reduce speeding: Compare vehicle speeds against posted speed limits along vehicle routes, receive automatic speeding alerts, and track speeding incidents by driver and vehicle.
  • Curb harsh braking and acceleration: Identify when and where hard braking or fast acceleration events occur. Managers can also create customizable driver behavior reports and receive automatic alerts via text or email.

In addition, the data derived from fleet tracking technology can be used to coach drivers to improve their driving habits. The data can even be used to create a safe-driving program to incentivize drivers to adhere to company wide safety standards.

 To find out more, visit verizonconnect.com or call 866.844.2235 to schedule a free live demo of Verizon Connect fleet management technology today.

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Performance & Coaching, Safety, Team Management

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