People do all kinds of absurd stuff while driving, including but not limited to: eating, texting, reading books and apparently even playing the guitar. Ever since Pokémon Go came out, people have also been trying to catch Pidgeys and Zubats while driving, because you can never have enough Pidgeys and Zubats.
They’ve crashed into schools, and even killed people. It got so bad that Nintendo put out an announcement telling people to be responsible and not to do it. The research on using mobile devices while piloting five ton death traps is pretty clear cut. And yet we persist.
A new study published late last week at JAMA Internal Medicine shows the practice of playing Pokémon Go while driving is even more prevalent than you might think.
The study searched for Twitter posts and Google News reports including words like “Pokémon,” “driving,” and “car,” and then reviewed the data according to various criteria to decide if it was an instance of driving while playing the game. From the study:
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 24-year-olds, whom the game targets.1Moreover, according to the American Automobile Association, 59% of all crashes among young drivers involve distractions within 6 seconds of the accident.2 We report on an assessment of drivers and pedestrians distracted by Pokémon GO and crashes potentially caused by Pokémon GO by mining social and news media reports.
According to the study’s results, “Thirty-three percent (95% CI, 31%-34%) of tweets indicated that a driver, passenger, or pedestrian was distracted by Pokémon GO, suggesting there were 113 993 (95% CI, 107 084-117 447) total incidences reported on Twitter in just 10 days.”