This article originally appeared on Daily Local News Business on July 13, 2016.
Don’t text and drive, don’t drink and drive, don’t Pokémon Go and drive.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning drivers that playing Pokémon Go behind the wheel is just as dangerous as any other form of distracted driving. The auto club also cautions that distracted pedestrians are risking their safety and the safety of other road users as they take their eyes off the sidewalk and roads. Distracted driving and walking is a bad combination.
Distracted driving is responsible for the deaths of one out of every 10 drivers nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Pokémon Go is a game. Driving is NOT a game,” says Jana L. Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Playing games while driving is a distraction just like sending or reading a text while driving. Put your phone down while behind the wheel. One quick text or glance to see the next Pokéstop could end up causing a crash or worse – costing you or someone else their life.”
There are distracted driving laws in place for good reason. Pennsylvania’s law against texting while driving took effect March 8, 2012. According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, between the time the law took effect through 2014, more than 3,940 tickets for texting while driving have been issued statewide.
To help drivers avoid a dangerous situation, AAA offers tips to help drivers avoid the temptation of texting or gaming while behind the wheel:
• Put your cellphone in the glove compartment or trunk to avoid the temptation.
• Ask for help from the passenger if you need to make a call or text.
• Download a safety app that will lock your phone while you’re driving.
Pedestrians are also dealing with distraction. Pokémon Go was designed for walking, which causes many players to constantly look down at their phones and not pay attention to where they are.