The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every facet of our lives, often in unexpected and unfortunate ways. While many experts expected car crashes to decrease, the opposite has actually been the case.

One cause could be a surge in distracted driving accidents.

Learning about the current causes of car accidents can help you better prepare for driving on the road, but even the most prepared driver can still end up in an accident. Today, our committed Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, will dive into how distracted driving has increased during the pandemic.

Phone Use and Distracted Driving During the Pandemic

According to 185-billion miles worth of data gathered and analyzed by Zendrive, cell phone use involvement in car and truck accidents has skyrocketed during the pandemic. In fact, according to their findings, 57% of car crashes in 2020 involved cell phone usage in some way. Even more shockingly, roughly one in five car accidents involved cell phone use within 5 seconds of the crash.

Towards the end of the year, the amount of time that drivers were spending on their phones decreased, but the frequency with which they checked their phones increased significantly.

Phone Usage and Texas Car and Truck Accidents

The surge in phone-related distracted driving has hit major Texas cities particularly hard. Among the top 25 cities in the country, 3 of Texas’ major metro areas are in the top five for phone usage. Specifically, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas took the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

However, it’s not all bad news for Texas. With so many cities within the massive state, it’s perhaps unsurprising that two Texas cities also fell in the bottom five for cell phone use. San Jose was second to last, and El Paso was fourth to last, with last meaning the city with the least amount of recorded phone usage by drivers.

Why the Surge?

Across the globe, phone addiction and general cell phone usage have boomed throughout the pandemic. This issue has hit young people particularly hard, with lock-down isolated 13 to 20- year-olds turning to their phones for social connection.

Even beyond that, there may be other factors that are contributing to cell phone usage amongst drivers. Among the types of crashes that have seen a rise during the pandemic are those caused by speeding. Experts theorize that drivers may feel tempted to speed due to lower amounts of traffic. It’s possible that a similar effect is contributing to cell phone use.

Staying Safe on the Road During the Pandemic

While vaccinations have allowed us to begin reopening in some areas, it’s likely to take some time before things like travel get back to normal. In the meantime, the factors that have contributed to the surge in car accidents will still remain. In order to stay safe while on the road, you can follow the simple tips found below.

    • Stay Alert — Less traffic doesn’t necessarily mean less danger for drivers.
    • Don’t Speed — The roads may be emptier, but speeding is still incredibly dangerous due to the risk of losing control or the need for sudden stops.
    • Don’t Text and Drive — As shown above, cell phone-related accidents are on the rise; simply put, don’t use your phone while driving.
    • Don’t Drive Tired — The pandemic has many of us feeling more stressed and exhausted than ever, but you should still avoid driving when you’re tired and your reactions to danger may be delayed.
    • Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly — Another contributor to the rise in speeding-related crashes is the use of rapid acceleration and deceleration. Avoid changing speed quickly by staying alert and planning maneuvers far in advance.

The tips cover just a few of the common causes of pandemic car accidents. In order to keep yourself safe, make an effort to pay particular attention to your driving behavior and possible risky decisions.

If you’ve been involved in a Texas car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns to learn about your options for seeking financial relief.

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About Keith Lapeze

Keith Lapeze co-founded Lapeze & Johns with the focus of delivering dependable legal services to individuals hurt in accidents caused by negligence. After graduating third in his class from Louisiana State University Law Center, Mr. Lapeze continued his calling through commercial, environmental, and tort litigation where he is admitted to practice in both Texas and Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Read more about Keith Lapeze here.