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Pokémon Go a Serious Distraction for Motorists

Motorists trying to catch critters are at a serious risk of injuring themselves and others in accidents. According to an analysis of Twitter posts related to Pokémon Go, far too many people are playing the game as they are driving or walking.

In fact, according to statistics, there have been at least 14 accidents directly linked to persons playing Pokémon Go. These accidents occurred in July. In one incident, a motorist drove his car into a tree. In other incidents, motorists suddenly slammed on their brakes and jumped out of their cars in busy traffic to catch the critters. Pedestrians have also been found walking into traffic as they were playing.

The analysis of Twitter posts found that approximately 18% of tweets involved persons who were playing Pokémon go while driving. 11% of the tweets seemed to indicate that a passenger in the car was playing. About 4% of the tweets involved pedestrians who were struck by cars or almost struck by cars while playing Pokémon Go.

Even though the game restricts speeds to below 10 mph, the distraction quotient is still very high. Even at those low speeds, these accident numbers seem to indicate that motorists are finding it very difficult to focus on their environment while driving. The game requires motorists to frequently change locations as they look for critters, and that simply adds to the distraction. In fact, the maker of the game is said to be currently working on changes to the game that would lower those speeds further.

Even as we struggle to make progress towards reducing accident risks involving texting while driving or cell phone use while driving, other new distractions emerge that add to the risk facing motorists. Pokémon Go was touted as a videogame with a difference, because it encouraged players to actually get off their couches and go out into the world to search for the critters. It was meant to be a game that would help people move, and get some exercise. Unfortunately, far too many people are playing the game while driving – which they shouldn’t – placing them and others at a high risk of accidents.