Using Zoom? It could be making you a worse driver

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Words: Matthew Hansen
12 Apr 2021

Apart from the way it’s changed approaches to health and travel, one of the other big world changes that occurred during Covid-19’s ‘peak’ last year was the way businesses looked at employee workspaces.

One of the big winners of the pandemic was the Zoom video conferencing app and other apps like it. Businesses around the world adopted Zoom to allow their workers to work from home, hosting face-to-face meetings with each other over the internet using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others.

But, the app genre has come under some recent curious scrutiny in a new US study, which concluded that a high volume of Zoom users have trouble concentrating after using the app.

The study was conducted by Wakefield Research, with funding from Root Insurance. Researchers quizzed some 1800 video calling service users, finding that 54 per cent of respondents had trouble concentrating after a call.

The study reports that 68 per cent of respondents use their phones to multitask, with 62 per cent saying the sound of their phone getting a call or text makes them want to check it while driving. All up, 64 per cent said they check their phones while driving.

Almost 30 per cent of respondents claimed that they felt they could check their phones while driving and still feel like they’re safe drivers — a result that’s increased by a staggering 6 per cent since the last study conducted by the same group in 2020.

On the topic of Covid-19 in particular, the study also found that preventative masks were a distraction to 41 per cent of study respondents. While mainstream usage of masks in public have decreased in New Zealand following the relative containment of Covid-19, America continues to require mask use on a national scale.

Root Insurance CEO Alex Timm says the increased blurring of business and pleasure represented by phone and app technology has only been stimulated further by the video conference call service revolution.

“Covid-19 fundamentally changed the way we interact with our vehicles,” he says. “As many abruptly shifted to a virtual environment, Americans’ reliance on technology dramatically increased along with their screen time, causing a majority of drivers to carry this distracted behavior into their vehicles.”

“Many Americans have honed their use of technology and their ability to multitask during the pandemic but living room skills do not translate behind the wheel. As drivers return to the road, they should recognize the dangers of false confidence to protect themselves and their passengers.”


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