The last year has challenged all Americans in different ways. Whether you now work from home or are an essential worker, you have labored through a tumultuous year and are looking for things to return to normal. However, labor in the United States has changed dramatically and will likely never be the same.
One particular innovation that has become increasingly important is video conferencing. Programs like Skype and Zoom have revolutionized modern business. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the effects of long-term screen use and with lethal consequences.
Video call fatigue and operating motor vehicles
At the beginning of the pandemic, traffic fatalities increased in many states, despite a dramatic drop in the traffic volume. Traffic officials chalked it up to joyriders and reckless motorists hoping to take advantage of the empty roads and drive their vehicles at illegally high speeds. However, now that many more commuters are on the road, law enforcement is still struggling with an excess of lethal crashes. In Connecticut, police recently launched a campaign against texting while driving, but researchers imply a different cause.
Enter the “Zoom Zombie.” A recent survey revealed that over 50% of over 1,800 adults reported having trouble concentrating on the road after videoconferencing. And the younger the driver, the worse the problem: Gen Z drivers reported a 65% loss in focus, Milennials saw a 61% loss, and Gen Xers were at 48%.
After a year of depending heavily on technology to be productive at work, our attention spans have suffered. Researchers speculate that the way our brains interface with computer screens is dissimilar to the state of mind required for safe and attentive driving. This has created a perpetual state of distracted driving, or “Zoom Zombies.”
Ross Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that Zoom Zombies aren’t texting or looking at their phones but experiencing “cognitive distraction, looking at the road while your thoughts are elsewhere.”
The National Safety Council reported that over 42,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, a 24% increase over 2019 and the largest jump in traffic deaths since 1924.
Distracted drivers are liable
Families whose loved ones lost their lives to a distracted driver can reach out to a local attorney familiar with motor vehicle accidents and personal injury law in Connecticut. A lawyer will help process your claim, work with insurance adjusters, and fight for your just compensation.