There is a new form of distracted driving that is becoming increasingly popular and equally dangerous.
It is not talking on your phone or even texting. Instead, it is playing mobile games. Whether that game takes up a few seconds at a red light, or someone peeks at the progress of their game while in traffic, mobile gaming has increased the number of dramatic driving accidents on the road at an alarming rate.
Mobile games have always been popular. Whether you are waiting in the doctor’s office or standing in line at the store, you can take out your phone, fire up a game, and stay entertained. More games today are also implementing augmented reality, which makes the game interact with your real-life scenarios.
Take Pokémon GO for example. This game uses your surroundings and has you attempt to capture a character that is near you. The more characters you catch, the easier it is to win the game. Your phone prompts you when a character is nearby, even if you are driving.
While Pokémon GO is a primary example of mobile games that lead to distracted driving, it is by no means the only game causing accidents.
Other mobile games that are notorious for distracting motorists include:
If you have ever played any of these games, you know that some are passive and do not use your real-life surroundings to play, but they are still addicting. In fact, they are so addicting that you might find yourself checking your phone at a stop light, or playing while in traffic to help pass the time.
According to the Distracted Driving Study by NHTSA, a vast majority of distracted drivers are between 20 and 29. Another study found that Pokémon Go users (at least 49 percent) are between 18 and 29. Therefore, these age groups crossover just enough to establish a threat.
Distracted driving results from an activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road and onto something else. The driver may still have his or her hands on the wheel, may remove their hands to engage with an object, or simply divert their attention from the task of driving. There are numerous forms of distracted driving, ranging from talking to a passenger, to mobile games, to texting.
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that 3,477 people died in an accident with a distracted driver. During the day, NHSTA found that 660,000 drivers use their phones while driving, which increases the chances of a deadly motor vehicle accident. Teenagers were the group most likely to engage in distracted driving, and have the highest rate of fatal distracted driving accidents.
Pokémon GO is one of the causes of the increased distracted driving rates among mobile gamers. In fact, one study by JAMA Internal Medicine found that there are 20,000 instances of distracted driving each day because of the game.
Pokémon Go players are relentless and will do whatever it takes to catch in the game – even if that means not paying attention to the road in the process. Researchers even found instances where drivers would admit to distracted driving over the mobile game while driving by posting their acts on Twitter.
Pokémon GO released in July 2016, and since then it has been a factor in numerous distracted driving accidents throughout the United States.
The first accident that named the mobile game as the cause was in Auburn, New York. In this case, the driver was too busy playing the game and drove their vehicle off the road and into a tree. The driver did survive that accident, but local police officers posted messages on social media warning residents about the dangers of distracted driving.
Since the incident in Auburn, New York, several more accidents have been reported, including:
The makers of Pokémon Go have started to disable features of the game when they detect that a vehicle is driving more than 10 miles per hour. However, a driver can click a button saying that they are a passenger and the warnings stop.
Mobile games take more physical and cognitive processes than you might realize. Even the act of checking your phone for a game notification can be distracting.
Here are just a few ways mobile games distract you:
Distracted driving takes many forms. You cannot drive safely if you are not fully concentrating on the act of driving. Mobile games are just an example of something that could distract you. Texting and driving is another form of distracted driving. It takes approximately five seconds for you to read and send a single text message. When you are driving 55 miles per hour, you could drive for the length of a football field while ignoring the road and sending that same text message.
There are three main categories of distraction:
Despite the awareness campaigns, mobile apps that stop distracted driving, and state laws creating harsh penalties for offenders, the number of distracted driving deaths are increasing rather than decreasing.
Distracted driving is easy to engage in and you might be doing it without really thinking about it. Distracted drivers are everywhere on the road with you as well; therefore, you must do your part to limit your distractions and stay safe.
Some ways you can help prevent distracted driving in your vehicle include:
If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation from that driver. Speak with an attorney from Malman Law today, and let our attorneys help explore your options.
We offer free, no-obligation consultations. You can schedule your appointment now by calling our office at 888-625-6265 or by contacting us online.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023