Most people in South Carolina are aware that it can be distracting to text and drive, and many people know that talking on a cellphone while driving, even a hands-free phone, can also create a distraction. However, few people are aware that there could be a link between heavy computer use prior to driving and a distracted state once behind the wheel. In fact, some researchers say that extensive use of Zoom in the past year could be partly responsible for some of the car accidents in 2020.
Increase in deadly traffic accidents
Even though far fewer people were on the road in 2020 than usual, the incidence of motor vehicle accidents increased significantly. According to research by Root Insurance, just over half of drivers said they struggled to concentrate on the road after a video conference. This could be because video conferencing creates a significant cognitive load, and it can be difficult for people to switch back into an alert mode when they get behind the wheel of a car.
Too many distractions
According to the National Safety Council, more than 42,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2020. At a 24% increase compared to 2019, this was the biggest year-over-year surge seen since 1924. Researchers theorize that while people may be multitasking effectively while working, they remain distracted when they get in the car. They may also take time to settle into the task of driving with over half of people saying they checked their phones in the first few minutes after starting to drive.
A lack of attention to driving could lead to an accident and severe injuries to the driver or others. It is critical for drivers to keep in mind that cognitive distractions can be as potentially dangerous as looking away from the road or taking their hands off the steering wheel. A person who drives while distracted could be found negligent and be responsible for the injured victims of the crash.