Pokemoning Behind the Wheel

Last week, a new app was released that has become an overnight sensation. Pokemon Go is a video game that can be downloaded from the app store onto cellular devices – allowing players to collect characters, battle other users, and more. The app accesses users’ geo locations to determine when they are near a PokéStop, which are meant to be walked through to advance through the game.

Unfortunately, many people have already been using the game in ways that are extremely dangerous. Instead of walking to checkpoints, they are driving through them. These checkpoints require you to travel at low speeds and navigate the app while doing so – which means those driving not paying the appropriate attention to the roadway and other drivers.

Distracted driving is already rampant in the U.S., and this app has created one more method of distraction in the mere week since its release. The Department of Transportation in Washington state released a request for drivers to cease playing Pokemon Go while behind the wheel of a vehicle, as it has become an issue for law enforcement officials there. Users have been witnessed driving slowly and even stopping in the middle of roadways to meet checkpoint locations and play the game. Many of the checkpoints are located in streets, and even traffic tunnels. We urge all Georgians to drive safely and without distraction, regardless of how tempting mobile apps and games can be.

Pokemon Go not only distracts drivers, but pedestrians as well. Looking at phones while walking is already something that many Americans do, but with the creation of this app it is now something required to progress in the game. Users must walk through checkpoints while playing the game. This can be especially dangerous when pedestrians travel near streets and roadways.

Automobile accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, even to the most experienced drivers. Human error is enough of a cause of crashes, so we don’t need any additional factors working against us. We urge you to avoid distracted driving and walking at all costs – not only for your safety, but for the safety of those around you as well.