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Pokémon GO is a popular form of distracted driving

By now, you have probably heard of the popular smartphone app Pokémon GO. However, you may not be aware of how many Louisiana residents will stop at nothing to catch as many Pokémon as possible.

Close to two-thirds of car accidents involving young drivers are caused by distracted driving. Pokémon GO appears to be the latest distraction for these young people on the road. The game makers have warned users against driving while playing, but many do not heed their warnings. A recent study by San Diego State University shows that thousands of drivers are putting themselves and others at risk while playing Pokémon GO while driving.

Researchers used a statistical model to determine how many tweets on Twitter were about playing Pokémon GO while driving from July 10 to July 16 of this year. Out of the 350,000 total Pokémon related tweets posted during that time, about 18 percent were from drivers playing the game while behind the wheel.

Approximately 11 percent were from passengers playing Pokémon GO. Though passengers playing the game may not be a distraction for drivers, it is a possibility. The study also did not identify the geographical location of the tweets. Nevertheless, the findings reveal a serious distracted driving problem, with close to 62,000 drivers tweeting about driving while playing Pokémon GO over the course of 10 days.

Another concern is that this issue will not go away, even if Pokémon GO loses popularity. More mobile reality games will be created, leading to more distracted driving and, in turn, more accidents. Government officials may have to step in to prevent this from happening.

Source: Fortune, "Tens of Thousands of People Are Driving While Playing Pokémon GO," David Z. Morris, Sep. 18, 2016

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