DMV: DMV Says Teen Drivers, Parents Need to be Mindful of Safe Driving with "Pokémon Go"

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For Immediate Release
July 18, 2016
DMV Says Teen Drivers, Parents Need to be
Mindful of Safe Driving with "Pokémon Go"

Game Poses a Concern About Distracted Driving
WETHERSFIELD -- The Department of Motor Vehicles is warning teen drivers and their parents to be mindful of safe driving while playing the now popular “Pokémon Go” mobile game. It has users’ eyes glued to cell phones and real-time tracking in search of monsters in a hunt and chase that shows some players posting in social media pictures of hazardous situations. Many play the game either alone or with friends.
State laws prohibit 16 and 17 year-olds from using a cell phone (including hands-free) or other mobile electronic devices while driving. These teens also are prohibited from carrying passengers during their first year of holding a license.
"These are our most inexperienced drivers and we need to keep them focused on purposeful driving when behind the wheel," said DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra. He added, however, that drivers of all ages must pay attention to safety and should not be playing any game.
“Everyone’s eyes should be glued to the road, not a game. It’s distracted driving. Eyes off the road or inattention for one second could lead to tragedy that lasts a life time,” he said. 
The popular mobile game “augments reality” by linking the game to the physical world with real-time tracking on a cell phone. Players are in search of electronic markers at various landmarks and other places in a community. The phone's GPS (global positioning system) is used to layout a map in real time on the phone. The hunt and chase involves finding the digital markers and engaging with other aspects of the game.
Dr. Steven Wolf, chairman of emergency medicine at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, agreed that caution and safety are needed. He likened it to texting and driving.
"We know how dangerous texting and driving is. This is another example of a distraction. Those kinds of crashes are unnecessary and cause injuries and fatalities. Young drivers are especially vulnerable because they don't fully understand the risks they are taking," Dr. Wolf said, adding that a game with a phone can lure away any driver’s attention from the road. 
State law prohibits anyone from talking or holding a cell phone while driving, which also includes the vehicle being stopped at intersections and traffic lights.
An Auburn, N.Y., man recently crashed a car into a tree while playing the popular game and suffered minor injuries. There have also been other reports of injuries from simply walking or skateboarding into someone while holding a phone when playing the game. 
DMV also re-emphasized other cautions given by the Connecticut State Police for the game players:
  • Don’t play while driving.
  • Don’t trespass, i.e., scaling fences, parachuting, tunneling, etc.
  • Don’t fight/argue with other players.
  • Don’t be lured into places you’re not familiar with
  • Have fun! Get out and explore your communities.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings! Traffic does not stop for these little guys.
  • Make yourself visible when playing at night.
  • Play with friends/family.

Content Last Modified on 7/19/2016 10:16:47 AM