(NBC News) — As millions of Americans spend hours at a time in videoconferences — and then hop in their car — many are struggling to maintain their concentration, making experts fear this zoning out due to cognitive overload could be contributing to a surge in roadway deaths.
“After you get into your car, you may be operating on autopilot,” Joan Claybrook, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said. “I think computer use, in general, can overload you.”
The mental strain, combined with the way driving skills have atrophied for many people over the last year, is “likely a contributor to the increase in highway fatalities,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal auto analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
A new study by Root Insurance found 54 percent of the 1,819 adult motorists surveyed said they have had trouble concentrating on the road after videoconferences.