For many cellphone app-based game enthusiasts, the new game Pokemon Go is the latest fun diversion. For the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the game is just another way for motorists to take their focus off the road, where it belongs.
If you have not yet heard of Pokemon Go, it is an app based on the card and video games of the 1990s. The app tracks the user’s location while the user wanders the real world, hunting for Pokemon characters that appear on his or her phone’s screen.
The game was released less than two weeks ago, and has already caused a distracted driving accident, according to Autoblog. And with the majority of players in the 18-to-24 age range, it is not hard to imagine that many more such crashes will happen in the coming months, both here in Los Angeles and around the country.
The NHTSA quickly tried to reach out to Pokemon Go players through Twitter. In one tweet, a picture is attached which includes a Pokemon character superimposed onto the steering wheel of a car. The message: “Eyes up, Poke Balls down, people. Stay safe on the roads, don’t #PokemonGo and drive. #justdrive.”
We hope this message reaches its intended target. There are already enough potential distractions on the average smartphone that cause thousands of deadly car wrecks every year. Unfortunately, too many drivers still have not gotten the message that driving while distracted is unacceptably dangerous.
Anyone injured at the hands of a distracted driver should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.