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Zoom 'zombies' drive spike in fatal crashes

 

Young woman driving without her eyes on the road

An experienced car accident lawyer in Philadelphia examines this new roadway danger

A sharp increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the height of the pandemic has experts searching for a cause. Due to restrictions, people stayed home from work, school, and socializing for much of 2020. Miles traveled plummeted, but the number of people in fatal car accidents jumped by 24% compared to the prior year.

A recent study may hold some answers. In a nationwide survey, 54% of American drivers said that it's hard for them to focus on the road after video calling or conferences. It barely needs to be mentioned, but 2020 was a time of increased video calls, conferences, and chats. In June, for example, Zoom reported an average of 300 million people per day using its platform. Some people have dubbed these drivers "Zoom zombies."

Distracted driving has been an issue in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania long before 2020. And while endless video conferencing put many people in a stupor before they got behind the wheel, there were other reasons for the spike in fatal car accidents, according to a Root Insurance study.

Fewer cars, more accidents

It would be reasonable to assume that with everyone staying home during the height of the pandemic, the number of car accidents and related injuries and fatalities would drop.

It was such a widely held belief that some insurance companies used the opportunity to run ads promising substantial refunds to policyholders. The insurance companies then turned around and did what they always do and got out of making any substantial payouts.

Here are some additional factors discovered by Root Insurance that may have contributed to a rise in 2020 roadway fatalities:

  • About 66% of drivers admitted to checking their phones while driving that year.
  • 24% of respondents said that they feel they drive safely while using a mobile phone.
  • A decline in driving skills while people were at home during the pandemic.
  • The average driver used their phone once every 5.5 miles, or 18 times over 100 miles.

A dubious honor for Philadelphia drivers

Metro Philadelphia has the most unfocused drivers out of any major metropolitan area in the U.S., according to the Root survey.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is among the top 5 states with the highest rate of distracted driving events. It's not clear why the issue is so pronounced in Pennsylvania, but Root suggested the state may need to strengthen its distracted driving laws.

Distracted driving isn’t just texting or looking at a phone. It can also include eating, drinking, smoking, adjusting the radio, talking on a phone, interacting with other passengers, searching for an object in the vehicle, reading, writing, combing hair, shaving, applying makeup, and rubbernecking.

Protect your rights if you've been injured

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for all your accident-related expenses, including but not limited to your current and future medical bills. The problem is auto insurance companies have a financial incentive to pay crash victims as little as possible and will purposefully delay, challenge, and reject valid claims in an effort to protect their bottom line.

At The Hanamirian Firm, PC, attorney Michael Hanamirian knows how to deal with insurance companies and pursue maximum compensation. Let our law firm aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for every dollar you deserve.

Learn how an experienced car accident lawyer in Philadelphia can help with your injury claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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