A popular new game played on smart phones may be endangering the lives of some Nebraska drivers and pedestrians.
Pokémon Go uses “augmented reality,” where you switch on your phone’s camera, look at your screen and see virtual creatures you’re trying to catch superimposed over the real world view.
Gail Weinholzer, at AAA-Nebraska, says you should never try to play the game while driving. “The three most important things you can do while driving are: keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on the task of driving,” Weinholzer says. “Obviously, playing this game while driving violates all three of those most important issues.”
The game is appealing to people in their teens and 20s and that’s the age group which the motor club says is already at the highest risk for crashes.
“Younger drivers are the most vulnerable drivers, they’re the least experienced,” Weinholzer says. “If they’re participating in these sorts of activities, they’re only enhancing the risk of being involved in a serious or even fatal crash.”
Another problem, pedestrian players are wandering into traffic, too engrossed in the game to realize their lives may be at risk.
“We’ve seen an increase in pedestrian fatalities across the United States over the last year and certainly, participating in this game is not going to assist us in reducing those numbers,” Weinholzer says. “It’s important that drivers and pedestrians alike both focus on the tasks they should be involved with.”
A recent AAA report showed distraction was a factor in 58% of all crashes. It also found six out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen driver crashes involved distraction, four times more than was reported on police records.