Pokemon Go Car Accidents Raise Concerns
It’s the app that swept the nation this summer: Pokemon Go has been a phenomenon since its release in early July. But since that time, we’ve heard of multiple accidents caused – or at least impacted – by a driver distracted by the game. Now, a study backs up what we’ve seen in the headlines. Hundreds of accidents have at least tangentially involved the game.
The medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine recently published an article about the connection between the game and distracted drivers. The researchers analyzed social media mentions of the game and driving. From July 10 through July 19, the combination of phrases got over 350,000 Tweets. An astonishing 33 percent of the Tweets showed a driver, passenger or pedestrian was being distracted by the game.
The researchers found that there were at least 14 actual car crashes in the time period in which they analyzed social media posts about Pokemon Go. Part of the problem, the study found, was that the game is aimed at young people aged 16-24. This group is especially prone to being distracted while driving. Nearly 70 percent of all crashes caused by young drivers involved distractions within six seconds of the accident.
Pokemon Go is hardly to blame for all distractions, but it’s definitely a big factor. The game features augmented reality, requiring players to travel around – on foot – to seek out and collect characters. The scavenger hunt-style game has discouraged people from playing while in a car. When the app recognizes the device is moving at a faster speed than 10 mph, it prompts the player to confirm whether they are a driver or a passenger.
Whether you’re a Pokemaster or have never even downloaded the app, stay alert and focused on the road when you’re driving. It goes without saying that game play should be reserved for non-driving time!
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