Playing Pokemon Go while driving is not just risky, but it’s downright dangerous and is taking distracted driving to a whole new level, according to a new study by researchers at San Diego State University. An NBC News report says researcher John Ayers and his colleagues combed through social media posts on Twitter and looked at news stories for evidence of people having accidents while driving and playing the wildly popular game during a 10-day stretch soon after its release (July 10-19).
The research team’s analysis, which was published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine, stated that there were 14 unique crashes attributed to Pokemon Go, including one player who rammed his car into a tree. The game is so absorbing that people even took screenshots of themselves playing the game and driving – all while admitting they know it’s dangerous. One user tweeted that he was “being a momentary idiot” driving his car and trying to catch one of those Pokemon creatures.
Driving, Playing and Posting
Pokemon Go uses smartphones equipped with GPS to take players through a virtual map superimposed on real-world surroundings to collect virtual cartoon characters and to interact with other players. About 18 percent of the tweets researchers found indicated that a person was playing and driving and 11 percent of the tweets showed that a passenger was playing. Four percent of the tweets indicated that a pedestrian was distracted. There were about 4,000 tweets referring to driving and being distracted while playing the game.
A Serious Problem
This is no laughing matter, said lead researcher Ayers. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among 16- to 24-year-olds, the very age group games like Pokemon Go target. Also, according to AAA, 59 percent of all crashes among young drivers involve distractions within six seconds of the accident. The gaming company has tried to develop controls to prevent these dangerous acts and they seem to be somewhat successful. For example, game play is restricted at speeds greater than 10 mph. But the question is: Are these controls sufficient? A devastating pedestrian accident could still occur at speeds under 10 mph.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.