Last week the internet went wild with a new free to play app called Pokémon Go. In fact, the game is such a hit that less than a week after its release, the app became the top grossing app on iTunes. When using the app, a player walks around their actual “real” environment and through their smart phone will see a variety of animated creatures that they receive points for catching. As a result of this app, you may have seen and if not, may start to see, children and even some adults walking around our neighborhoods and streets with their attention fixed on their phones even more than usual.
Several concerns have been raised regarding the app as it could be used to draw people into unsafe situations or at the very least is so immersive and distracting as it may lead to accidents. As the app is so new, there are no statistics yet regarding the effect on drivers. But, we do know that in 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that involved a distracted driver. (See http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html) According to one government study, distracted driving is considered “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”
We all know that distractions that can lead to serious injuries in car accidents, but these distractions aren’t limited to just the use of a smart phone when using an app or texting. Common distractions include: eating, drinking, grooming, reading, adjusting the radio or CD player, or using a navigation device. Did you know that the average time a user’s eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds? Five seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but while traveling at 55 miles per hour you will travel the length of a football field. Would any of us consider blindfolding a driver for five seconds? Let’s all consider that the next time we think about using our electronic devices while driving.
It’s important that we all commit to not being distracted drivers. The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto have seen an increase in injuries due to distracted drivers over the past few years and these accidents are for the most part preventable if we all focus on the road in front of us. Save that last text until the car is in park, our friends and neighbors we share the roads with will be happy we did.