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New game app is another reason to avoid distraction

Distracted driving is a problem that has plagued motorists in Schenectady and elsewhere for decades. With mobile devices being so prevalent today, the issue is worse than ever. Drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and others put themselves at risk for injury every time their attention is focused on something other than their surroundings.

Texting and driving has been at the forefront of public safety matters for several years. However, there are other forms of distraction related to mobile devices. In the past week, gaming fans have been captivated by the mobile app “Pokemon Go,” which was recently released. Numerous people have reportedly been injured while distracted by the game, usually while walking and watching their screens instead of where they were going.

Not surprisingly, drivers are also at risk if they use the app while behind the wheel, as well as those sharing the roads with them. One man in Albany was injured when he crashed into a tree while hunting for the game’s virtual monsters. Fortunately, nobody else was involved in the collision, but if others play and drive, there may be serious accidents related to the app in the weeks to come.

According to Distraction.gov, more than 3,000 people across the country were killed and 431,000 injured in distracted driving collisions in 2014. The makers of Pokemon Go have included a warning in the app advising users to be aware of their surroundings and use common sense. This advice can apply to anyone who uses mobile electronic devices outside the home, whether they are texting, reading or playing a game.

Source: USA Today, "Pokémon Go player crashes his car into a tree," Sean Lahman, July 14, 2016

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