What may have started as the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) weighing in on the latest mobile app – Pokémon GO – has now evolved into a social media storm. Dubbed as the latest TXDOT campaign against distracted driving, the “Don’t Pokémon GO and Drive” campaign is already stirring up a great deal of conversation about the hit app and its potential dangers. Here is what you need to know.
What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a new augmented reality game for mobile devices that allows the user to “catch” Pokémon while out in the real world. Using GPS data and the user’s phone clock and position, the app will show the location of virtual Pokémon characters, which could be across the street, down at the local supermarket, or even at historical sites. Pokémon are obviously only visible on your mobile device, which follows along with where you go and what landmarks you see around you.
The Dangers of Pokémon GO
There are a few reasons why the TXDOT is weighing in on Pokémon GO, such as:
- Drivers using the mobile app to find Pokémon characters may become distracted looking at the app, rather than the road.
- Users may attempt to cross the road, or “catch” Pokémon that are located on or near the roadway, which is dangerous for them as pedestrians, as well as for drivers.
- Drivers may pull over on the side of the road and exit their vehicles. This can be especially dangerous if the driver does not use hazard lights, exits a vehicle at night, or attempts to exit the vehicle along busy roadways.
- Users may attempt to “catch” Pokémon in areas listed as “no trespassing”, private property, or public parks and sites after hours. Sites like the Holocaust Museum, the Auschwitz site, and others have reportedly had to ask users to leave for unauthorized access while attempting to “catch” Pokémon on the sites.
Adding a bit of humor to their caution, the TXDOT posted the following statement on social media:
“Y’all. Please don’t make us have to create a campaign called “Don’t Pokemon-Go and Drive.” We know you have to catch them all, but only look for Pokemon when you are not behind the wheel. Also, don’t stop traffic just for PokeStops, and don’t cross the street without paying attention. #WeShouldntHaveToTellYouThis #TalkTextCrash #PokemonGo”
While this statement originated in jest, it quickly became apparent that social media would take the idea and run with it. Within just hours of posting, the idea had been shared more than 65,000 times.
The Real Danger of Distracted Driving
The Don’t Pokémon Go and Drive campaign is one more way to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. According to TXDOT data, distracted driving is a serious problem on Texas roadways. They estimate that over 100,000 automobile accidents every year on Texas roadways are caused by distracted driving. Distracted driving includes activities like:
- Using social media
- Using mobile apps
- Watching videos
- Adjusting electronics in the vehicle (GPS, radio, etc.)
Distracted driving accidents cause thousands of automobile accidents every year in Texas. In 2015, there were more than 105,000 accidents related to distracted driving. Consider the following information from the TXDOT from 2015:
- There were 476 fatalities
- There were 2,502 incapacitating injuries
- There were an additional 10,953 non-incapacitating injuries
These accidents, injuries, and fatalities represent only a number. Distracted driving accidents take a tremendous toll on those involved, their loved ones, and the communities in which they occur.
Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?
If you have been injured in an automobile accident caused by distracted driving, it is important to know that you may have the option of pursuing compensation for your injuries and any financial losses associated therein. Individuals injured due to the negligence of another driver often have the ability to file a personal injury claim. Successful claims can provide financial relief for the expenses that often result from automobile accidents, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and others.
Contact personal injury attorney law firm Daic Law to find out more about your rights, and explore your legal options. Contact our office by calling (713) 808-5246. Our office serves clients in Houston, Spring, Conroe, Tomball, Bryan, College Station, and surrounding areas.