While the Pokemon Go craze has become less of a deafening roar and more of a dull rumble, the popular game is still taking its toll on safety.
A new study has concluded that the augmented reality game is causing more motorists to become distracted while driving.
The authors of the study that was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, scoured Twitter and collected 4,000 tweets that mentioned the words Pokemon, driving, drives, or car over a 10-day period in July 2016, the month the game was released in the U.S. and Canada.
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They found that 33 per cent of the tweets indicated that a driver, passenger or pedestrian was distracted by the game. Eighteen per cent of the tweets showed that a person was actually behind the wheel of a vehicle and four per cent indicated that a pedestrian was distracted while walking, such as “almost got hit by a car playing Pokemon GO.”
They also found that there were 14 accidents attributed to Pokemon GO during the same period.
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This may not come as a surprise to some: during that month many police forces across both Canada and the U.S. were urging people not to play the game while driving. In Baltimore, one police cruiser dash cam captured a driver playing the game crashing into a parked police car.
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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those 16 to 24 years old, the main demographic of this game. And, the authors note that, according to the American Automobile Association, 59 per cent of all crashes occur as a result of distractions within six seconds of the accident.
Armed with this knowledge, the authors believe that, though game play is already restricted at speeds more than 16 km/h, it would be safer to extend that restriction to after a vehicle has come to a stop.