Everyone’s playing Pokemon GO. But not everyone is being safe while doing it. A new study found that people are playing the new mobile game regularly while either driving a car or traveling in one as a passenger. Pedestrians are also distracted while playing Pokemon GO and interacting with the traffic.
The study was conducted by analyzing a sample of 4 000 random Tweets containing the terms “Pokemon“, “Driving“, “Car“, “Drives“, “Drive“, etc for the period between 10 to 19 July 2016. Four investigators then evaluated the Tweets to determine whether the person playing Pokemon GO was driving, a passenger or a pedestrian playing Pokemon GO while interacting with traffic (like crossing the road). The study further looked at Google News reports that were published during the same period which included the terms “Pokemon” and “Driving“. 321 story clusters were obtained and reports of people playing Pokemon GO and then crashing were identified, with duplicate stories being removed.
The study found that 33% of the Tweets analysed, showed that playing Pokemon GO was distracting to a driver, passenger or pedestrian. This translates to 113 993 incidences of playing Pokemon GO and being distracted by the mobile game on Twitter in only 10 days.
18% of the Tweets indicated that people were playing Pokemon GO while driving (“omg I’m catching Pokemon and driving“). Only 11% of the Tweets showed that the person playing Pokemon GO was a passenger. Pedestrians being distracted by playing Pokemon GO accounted for 4% of the Tweets analyzed (“almost got hit by a car playing Pokemon GO“).
As vehicle collision is one of the leading causes of death among 16 and 24-year-olds (the people playing Pokemon GO), these figures found by the study are very concerning. Playing Pokemon GO is clearing a new distraction for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, which could lead to safety concerns. The game does offer in-game safety messages warning Trainers to be safe and to pay attention. Trainers are also required to confirm that they are passengers when the mobile game detects they are traveling in a vehicle.