People often claim that video games are ruining our children. Well, when it comes to Pokémon Go, it might actually be true. Well, not ruin per say as much as injure. With more and more people playing this fun and addictive game, Pokémon Go has led to an increase in auto accidents, involving a few pretty severe accidents. Let’s take a moment to review the auto accidents increase due to Pokemon Go.
Driving is a complicated process that a lot of people take for granted. Every year, roughly 1.3 million Americans will die because of car accidents while driving on the road. Every year, between 20-50 million Americans will be injured or involved in a car accident. Multi-tasking within the car is not uncommon and many states have taken steps to make it illegal to text and drive at the same time. With calling while driving becoming increasingly illegal as well, state and local policy is reacting to just how much damage can happen when people are not paying attention to the road. Having something else distracting them will do nothing but help increase the risk of accidents. With rise of auto accidents, it is important to make sure you are completely covered with the best NJ auto insurance. The auto accidents increase due to Pokemon Go may be something to worry about.
A Vulnerable Group
Some of the least experienced drivers are those who are young and have just gotten their licenses. This makes a lot of sense, especially when you look at car insurance companies and the rates they provide for people under the age of 25. It is not uncommon for new drivers 16-18 to pay more than twice what their parents will be paying for coverage. This only goes down when near 25. The reason for this is that the brain is not completely developed yet. It is easy for kids to lose track of things, stop paying attention, and lose control of the car. In addition, the rates among young men are particularly high as many will combine the need to drive aggressively with the inexperience of only having been behind the wheel for a short time. Those who are younger are also the most likely to be playing Pokémon Go. Combined, this vulnerable group finds itself in particular trouble when playing a game that grabs your attention and keeps you from paying attention to the world around you.
So, what about this game causes people to look away from the road? Pokémon Go is unique in that it is the first highly successful game for mobile devices (think phone) that uses GPS and location software to play. The goal of the game is to head out into the world around you and look for Pokémon. You can see them from a little distance away and then use the augmented reality to capture them. Doing so will add the Pokémon to your collection and result in you being able to train them yourselves. Pokémon Go is wildly successful because the central theme of Pokémon is exploration and acquisition. Both of these things require that you pay attention to your phone while out and about. While this is great for leaving the house, it will put people at risk when they are driving if they are not paying attention. Be aware that the claims, auto accidents increase due to Pokemon Go is based on actual incidents and not just speculation or fear.
Pokémon Go Road Crash
One of the most notable accidents caused by Pokémon Go occurred in Auburn, NY. Occurring at 10:45 at night, the accident occurred when the driver smashed into a tree. Injured while playing Pokémon Go, the driver survived with nothing but his car and his ego bruised. Incidents such as these are only increasing in frequency as more and more people play while driving. It may not be long before ‘death by Pokémon Go’ is something we read in the news.
In the UK, a major highway crash occurred when a driver stopped his vehicle in the middle of a highway to catch a Pokémon. Showing an incredible lack of awareness for the world around him, the individual was more focused on his augmented reality game than the vehicles speeding by him. His actions directly led to a major accident that took quite some time to get off the road. It would be hours before traffic was restored to the road.
With less than a month at this point, the number of accidents are expected to rise. As we’ve mentioned before, more and more people are getting into Pokémon Go. With the demographic hovering around new drivers, more and more people will end up behind the wheel and in accidents because of this game. Be sure you are completely covered against accidents with the best NJ auto insurance.
Is It The Fault Of Pokémon Go?
So, is it the fault of the Pokémon Go game or someone elses fault? The decision you come to depends on how you see the facts. Pokémon Go is the first game where augmented reality is really popular. It is the first game that brings droves of people out into the world. It is the first game has led to millions of people going all over their communities. Simply put, there has never been a precedent before and it can be very challenging to predict things when there are no previous examples.
Pokémon Go can be found at fault for putting Pokémon on things like roads or highways or private property. The challenge is that even when the creators of the game use maps that single out these locations as places where Pokémon cannot go, issues with GPS and tracking can sometimes put Pokémon where they are not supposed to be. So even when Pokémon Go’s creators are on the ball, the existing technology does not yet support very precise locations.
If blame is not placed on the game, then where else should it be placed? As we saw with the recorded accidents, a lot of blame rests on those who decide to act foolishly. Kids are told about the dangers of not having your attention paid to the road ahead of you. Ignoring that, they take the risk and responsibility into their own hands. They potentially endanger those around them including themselves every time they take their eyes off the road. What many people need is to be told again the importance of paying attention to roadway instead of their devices. As campaigns have done a good job in curbing cell and texting use in the past, they may be able to be adopted to stop people from playing games as well.
Accidents Are Bad, But Exercise Is Good
For roughly 8 years, the wife of the President of the United States, Michelle Obama, has worked to raise awareness of issues including childhood obesity and the need to exercise. What Pokémon Go has managed to do in only a month is bring far more children from every walk of life into their communities as they hunt for Pokémon. Getting exercise, exploring their community, and engaging in a fun and exciting game, Pokémon Go has led to millions of kids going and getting the exercise they need. Even if a few careless individuals get into trouble, the net benefit can still be seen as positive.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Does the claim that auto accidents increase due to Pokemon Go, lead to more potential injuries? Absolutely. Are the rates at a point where serious action has to be taken? Good question. In the end, all we can do is wait and see. Over the next few years, augmented reality games will become increasingly popular. Whether or not Pokémon Go is a fluke or the new normal will take some time to figure out. Taking action then may have to wait.