Study: Drivers distracted by Pokemon GO

A new study discovered that drivers who play the game Pokemon GO are harming their ability to drive safely.

Many people in South Carolina have become caught up in the Pokemon GO phenomenon, an app which allows users to catch and battle fictional creatures. While the game may be enjoyable, researchers recently concluded that participating in an augmented reality game like this one while driving can pose a serious risk to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

How the study was conducted

The researchers who worked on this study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, determined that Pokemon GO was distracting drivers by analyzing news reports and social media. For example, over a 10-day period, researchers collected 345,433 tweets that had the words "car", "drive," or "driving" and "Pokemon" in them. In 18 percent of these tweets, the person tweeting was playing Pokemon GO while simultaneously driving a car.

While Pokemon cannot be collected when people are going over 10 mph, people can still search for them regardless of the speed they are travelling at. This allows people to be searching for Pokemon as they drive, and then either stop completely or slow down so that they are able to catch them.

The danger of distracted driving

While Pokemon Go is distracting to drivers, there are many other activities that can distract drivers and harm their ability to drive safely. For example, a driver can become distracted when he or she:

  • Texts or talks on a cellphone
  • Eats or drinks while on the way to work
  • Flips through stations on the radio
  • Uses a navigation system to find a destination
  • Watches a video

Distracted driving is also a threat that injures and kills many drivers, passengers and pedestrians every year. According to Distraction.gov, 431,000 people were injured and 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2014 alone. On a daily basis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that collisions involving distraction are responsible for killing eight people and injuring 1,161.

Reach out to an attorney

While texting and driving has been banned in South Carolina, many drivers still text behind the wheel and engage in other activities that harm their ability to drive safely, like playing Pokemon GO. When this happens, passengers, drivers and pedestrians who are involved may incur serious injuries that impede on their ability to live a normal daily life. In this situation, accident victims should reach out to an attorney who can ensure their rights to fair and proper compensation are protected.