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The Temptation of Gaming While Driving

For those born from the 1980s on, or those who have spent time with kids since that time, there is at least a vague familiarity with Pokemon, which has been a popular card game, handheld video game, and cartoon. In the game, players move their controller around the world on the screen in hopes of catching pocket sized monsters in the game’s environment. Like most video games there’s been criticism that playing the game stops people from experiencing the real world by keeping them tied to the game’s world. But recently, Pokemon Go was developed.

The game uses a smartphone app that works with the phone’s camera to allow people to find Pokemon superimposed into the real world. In order to catch the monsters, one has to step outside and interact with the world. But for many of today’s players, interacting with the world means getting in their car. Despite explicit warnings within the game not to play while driving, there are still those who try to catch Pokemon while they are driving — and some even post to social media when they do it.

A Snapshot of the Problem

A recent study that analyzed social media messages over a 10 day period in July shows that there plenty of people willing to share that they are playing while driving. The researchers searched for tweets that mentioned the words “Pokemon” along with the words car, drive, driving, or drives and discovered nearly 350,000 tweets. In eighteen percent of the cases, it was apparent that the driver was the one playing the game.

Developers of the game have made some effort to discourage driving while playing. Sensors are included in the game that detect higher speeds, and the game pauses to ask players to confirm they are a passenger, not a driver. Clearly, many are lying about which seat they occupy. Many are suggesting that game makers go further and keep the game inoperable to anyone moving fast enough to be riding in a vehicle — including passengers.

At least one twitter post was not from a driver or a passenger playing Pokemon Go. It came from the Baltimore Police Department. One of the officer’s unoccupied parked patrol car was hit by a driver who admitted to playing the game. No one was hurt in the incident, but not everyone is lucky enough to steer clear of injuries caused by distracted Pokemon Go players on the road.

Seek Legal Advice

If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver, a personal injury attorney can help you stand up for your rights and potenitally recoup damages for your injuries.

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