There are plenty of apps designed to help people drive more safely: They block texts or auto reply so others will know you’re behind the wheel and stop trying to distract you. Simply enough, they are intended to keep you safe. But it’s difficult to combat pop culture fads like Pokémon GO that encourage people to get outside with their eyes trained on their phone instead of on the road in front of them.
Distracted Drivers and Pedestrians
The Pokémon GO fad has endangered drivers and pedestrians alike, distracting them tremendously from the important tasks at hand, like operating a motor vehicle or walking a straight line down a sidewalk. A driver crashed his car into a tree while playing Pokémon GO, while another drove into a Baltimore police car.
For those who are unfamiliar with Pokémon GO, this mobile app is the hit of the summer with gamers and smartphone enthusiasts. In the game, Pokémon characters are projected onto a player’s smartphone screen with your real surroundings in the background – like a miniature green screen. The goal of the game is to capture the animated Pokémon characters, but in order for the game to work you have to move with it. And gamers are attempting crazy feats – like climbing fences where they shouldn’t and subsequently falling off of bluffs – in order to catch the Pokémon faces that show up in their lives.
Many experts are singing the praises of Pokémon GO, saying the fad has gotten young people out of the virtual world and into the real world, encouraging them to be outside and interacting with others. However, how much interaction is there really if you’re still keeping your eyes on your phone – and not on the road where they should be? Distracted drivers are a serious problem thanks to Pokémon GO, and so are distracted pedestrians.
The Distracted Driving Epidemic
Texting and driving is an epidemic. Distracted driving contributes to close to 16 percent of all fatal crashes – about 5,000 deaths per year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And Pokémon GO is not helping. Did no one see this problem coming?
Advances in auto design, increased seat belt use, campaigns against drunk driving – all of these efforts contributed to lowered highway fatality rates. But in recent years, the numbers are well on their way up and up. Forty-six states and Washington, D.C. have all passed laws prohibiting texting and driving. But enforcing these laws aren’t easy. Personal accountability is one of the biggest combatants against distracted driving, for teen drivers and adult drivers alike.
Reducing distracted driving and walking begins with common sense. Don’t use your phone when you’re behind the wheel. When you’re walking down the street, especially if you live in a Michigan urban area, pay attention to where you’re going instead of what yellow puffy creature you’re going to snatch next. Research shows that people who text and walk are four times less likely to look both ways before they cross the street, or obey traffic signals, or cross in designated areas.
Smartphone addiction, video game addiction, and distracted driving and walking are causing auto accidents that could be avoided. If you have been involved in a car crash involving a distracted driver, contact David Femminineo today to discuss your case.