The Increase of Distracted Driving During the Pandemic

The pandemic has seen hundreds of thousands of drivers remain locked in their homes, with their cars idle. You’d think that, with so few people on the roads, there would be less of a chance of accidents. However, even if fewer cars are on the streets, a distracted driver still has a high probability of hitting something. Zendrive published a report that points out that distracted driving may be on the rise during the lockdowns that have hit the country. Does the problem of distracted driving have to do more with the other drivers or a distracted driver’s ability to control their own vehicle?

A Significant Increase

In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that over 2800 people died due to distracted driving. The Zendrive report notes a significant increase (63% to be exact) in collisions per million miles driven between January and November of 2020. People who are in their cars seem to be using their mobile phones more. This increased usage can be chalked up to a dependence on the device to connect to work and home. Zoom calls or even social media use through Instagram and Facebook has led to drivers becoming distracted, leading to avoidable crashes. In cases like these, seeking out the top personal injury attorney in the region could help.

Duration Down but Frequency Up

The study compared driving behaviors for its sample size during January, March, and over the last massive increase in infections between October and November. Cell phone distraction seemed to be its highest in March, but the researchers found a significant decrease during October. The curious thing about the numbers is that while the duration of cell phone distractions seems to have gone down, the frequency of those distractions has risen in comparison. This statistic suggests that more people were using their phones more often to connect over short durations. Still, overall, those added up led to more significant distractions than a single long-duration call.

Not All Are At the Same Risk
While we all have cell phones, older people tend to spend less time glued to their screens. Unfortunately, younger drivers, especially those in their late teens and early twenties, are most at risk for this behavior type. Since they’ve become so used to being always connected through their phones, driving with them on and glancing at them occasionally has become second nature. The result is, predictably, far more individuals becoming distracted by something showing up on their social media feeds. Older people are also distracted, but usually because of video calls, not social media.

Attentive Driving Saves Lives

Distracted driving can be prevented by simply turning off a phone or leaving it silent during a journey. The downside of phones is that, once it’s in your pocket, the vibrate function may also serve to distract you. The best option to minimize distractions is to ensure that the phone remains wholly powered down or silent (not on vibrate) while you’re traveling to your destination. Social media will always be there, but losing your life in a car accident because of distracted driving may ensure that you’re not. Paying attention to the road can keep you from becoming yet another distracted driving statistic.