With the widespread use of smartphones and the availability of internet data connections everywhere, distracted driving has become a road safety problem in the US. In fact, a study shows that there was an increase in instances of using phones while driving in 2020 as compared to the previous year.
In line with this, more stringent legislation measures are being filed to curb distracted driving – the most recent of which was in Ohio and a recent debate for harsher penalties for distracted driving ensued.
However, during the 13-minute online Zoom meeting, Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner was seen driving; complete with seatbelts on and an image of his home office as his background, Newsweek reports.
You can see the video from USA Today reported by The Columbus Dispatch embedded above.
In his defense, Brenner said that he wasn't distracted during the online meeting and that he was paying attention to the driving and listening to the meeting. He also said he had two back-to-back meetings in separate locations and has been in plenty of other calls while driving. According to him, he treats online video meetings as phone calls and pays no attention to the video during these instances.
Moreover, Brenner said that he was parked for a majority of the online meeting.
Amid the pandemic, a previous Root Insurance study shows that Zoom meetings, or online meetings as a whole, are crippling our abilities to drive, making us worse drivers.
During Root's annual Distracted Driving Awareness survey, Alex Timm, founder and CEO of Root Insurance, said that COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with our vehicles.
"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," he added.