Indianapolis, IN – July 13, 2016 – AAA Hoosier Motor Club is reminding motorists of the dangers associated with playing Pokémon Go while driving.
The smartphone game, in which players search for animated characters superimposed on real-life images, has exploded in popularity during the last few days but is a very dangerous distraction for anyone attempting to play while operating a motor vehicle.
“Trying to catch a Pokémon while behind the wheel dramatically increases your risk of being involved in a crash,” said Greg Seiter, public affairs manager for AAA Hoosier Motor Club. “As drivers, we’re already faced with far too many distractions.”
Industry experts say an alarmingly-high number of motorists continue to use a cell phone while driving in the United States, despite restrictive laws and warnings against the proven dangers of doing so. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving is responsible for the deaths of one out of every 10 drivers in the U.S.
The dangers are significantly magnified for inexperienced teenage drivers.
Over the past five years, more than 5,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer, the period starting at Memorial Day when teen crash deaths historically climb. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms that nearly 60 percent of teen crashes involve distractions behind the wheel.
Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer months because teens drive more at that time of the year.
Over the past five years during the 100 Deadliest Days, an average of 1,022 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.
“Many people of all ages are enjoying Pokémon GO but it’s important to use common sense while playing,” Seiter said. “Pokémon GO is a game. Driving is NOT a game.
“The bottom line is that motorists need to put their phones down while driving. One quick text or glance to see the next Pokéstop could end up costing you or someone else their life.”
AAA offers six tips to help drivers avoid using their phones while behind the wheel:
- Silence your cell phone and turn off the vibration mechanism: Airplane mode is a setting available on many mobile phones. When activated, it suspends many of the device’s signal transmitting functions, thereby disabling the phone’s capacity to place or receive calls or use text messaging.
- Ask for help: Remind the people in your vehicle to be a good passenger and enlist their help. Ask your passengers to handle tasks such as texting, placing a call or re-programming your GPS.
- Ask family, friends and colleagues to respect your commute: Set mobile boundaries and politely ask them not to contact you during your anticipated drive times.
- Place your phone in the glove compartment or trunk: The old adage, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can be applied here. Wait until you’re at your destination or safely pull into a gas station or rest area to check messages.
- Download a safety app: Get some technological help. Many mobile safety apps can help discourage texting while driving.
- Leave the gaming to others: If you find yourself on a mobile Pokémon GO excursion, make sure passengers are the only ones glancing at the game screen and searching for characters. They can safely guide you throughout your adventure with audible instructions.