The problem of distracted driving isn’t getting any better with the Pokemon Go app, according to the country’s largest motor club.
Since the app’s release on July 7, it has been downloaded more than 8 million times in the US, taking gamers to real life locations as they compete to capture, train, and battle Pokémon. The popular app has players staring at their phones, raising traffic and pedestrian safety concerns.
AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Tiffany Wright told South Carolina Radio Network that distracted driving and Pokemon Go are a disaster rolled into a tragedy waiting to explode. “We’re talking about it as it deals with traffic safety. It’s dangerous and it can be quite frankly, deadly,” said Wright.
“Our sidewalks and roads are being transformed into virtual arenas, where motorists and pedestrians are racing to chase down the next Pokémon,” Wright said. “Playing this game behind the wheel is a huge distraction and increases your risk of causing a crash and could have deadly consequences.”
According to AAA distracted driving contributes to more than 5,000 traffic fatalities each year and studies suggest that drivers using a mobile phone are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who do not use a phone.