The wildly popular game, Pokémon GO, has become a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring players all over the globe to get out and walk around to catch as many Pokémon as they can.
While the intentions for the game were good, players have found a way to bypass the positive health benefits by simply using the app while driving. With this upswing in dangerous driving, researchers decided to look into how many accidents players caused.
What did the study say?
To find the amount of accidents caused by Pokémon GO, the researchers tracked Twitter activity that involved the words “Pokémon,” “drive,” “drives,” “driving,” or “car.”
The researchers found that from July 10 through July 19, a total of 345,433 tweets contained these words. The survey then used a random sample of 4,000 of these tweets to conduct the research.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that 33 percent of tweets indicated that a driver, passenger, or pedestrian was distracted while playing Pokémon GO.
Worse yet, 18 percent concluded that a driver was playing the game while operating their motor vehicle. One player even tweeted, “omg I’m catching Pokémon and driving.”
And this erratic, dangerous driving is not limited to teens or young adults. One Twitter user tweeted, “My mom just legit stopped the car in the middle of the road to catch a Pokémon.”
These dangerous actions resulted in 14 car accidents throughout the 10-day window. One driver was even so distracted that he ran his car right into a tree.
How do pedestrians and passengers endanger safety?
You might be thinking, “Well, of course everyone knows that using your cell phone behind the wheel is dangerous.” But did you stop to think that a passenger can be almost as distracting? In many cases, passengers can cause or contribute to these accidents if they have the driver make an unsafe maneuver to catch a Pokémon.
Pedestrians can cause — and have caused — accidents by stepping into traffic. While many might think that this is only a danger to the pedestrian, if a driver slams on his brakes or swerves to avoiding hitting a pedestrian, the driver could get rear-ended or side-swipe another car leading to serious injuries.
How are the creators going to fix this problem?
The designers of Pokémon GO have attempted to resolve the issue by restricting the gameplay to only working when the player is moving under 10 miles per hour.
Unfortunately, this is not effective as drivers can simply tap the screen, claim they are passengers, and continue playing.
While creators are trying to make the game safer for all players, the fact of the matter is that drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike will continue to be in danger as long as they ignore safety and allow themselves to be distracted by mobile phones.
What can I do if I am in an accident caused by distracted driving?
Accidents are a part of life, but you should not be left to pick up the pieces alone when a distracted driver or pedestrian causes your accident.
Call a legal team that has your best interests at heart. Contact Goldstein & Bashner today to discuss your case: 516-874-4362.