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Auto Safety Experts Point to Videoconferences as the Newest Form of Driving Distraction

Auto Safety Experts Point to Videoconferences as the Newest Form of Driving Distraction

Road safety experts have identified a new type of dangerous distraction affecting motorists – videoconferencing. According to an NBC news report, with the coronavirus pandemic, many of us work from home, away from our office desks, and connect with colleagues via Zoom or other videoconferencing platforms. Experts say that as millions of Americans spend hours in videoconferences and then jump in their car, many struggle to maintain concentration.

Zoom and Distracted Driving

Safety experts fear this zoning out. Some call “Zoom zombies” due to cognitive overload, which could contribute to a surge in traffic accident deaths. Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that computer use, in general, could overload the human mind. The mental strain combined with the way driving skills have atrophied for many people during the pandemic year is likely contributing to the increase in highway fatalities, analysts say.

A new study by Root Insurance found that 54% of the 1,819 adult motorists surveyed said they’d had trouble focusing on driving after videoconferences. The study found that the problem got worse as the drivers got younger. For Gen Z motorists, 65% reported losing concentration while driving, while it was 61% for millennials and 48% for Gen Xers. Experts say that as many of us shifted to a virtual environment, our reliance on technology dramatically increased along with our screen time, causing most drivers to carry these distracted behaviors to their vehicles.

The Problem of Distracted Driving

No question, that distracted driving has been a growing problem in the United States, blamed for at least 10% of annual roadway deaths. Numerous studies have also shown that highway speeds increased sharply during the pandemic. In Southern California, we saw increased street racing incidents due to COVID-19 lockdowns emptying our roadways.

It is important to remember that distracted driving is not just about checking email or texting. This study reminds us about the genuine risk of cognitive distraction, looking at the road while your thoughts are somewhere else. That zoning out may mean you may not recognize a dangerous situation until it’s too late.

If a distracted or negligent driver has injured you or a loved one, you may be able to seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced California car accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options better.


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California Personal Injury Blog