Pokemon – but not on the GO.

Blog post posted on 22/07/16 |
Last Thursday I downloaded Pokémon GO, just a couple of hours after its UK launch. And if not exactly hooked, trying to ensnare Zubat on the bus or Golduck on the tube is a really fun way of passing time.  Apparently I’m not on my own either. Pokémon GO now has more users than Tinder and interest in the game transcends generations. Even my parents were out giving it a whirl over the weekend. 

As is often the case though, it’s not all good news. According to the Telegraph  “Four savvy armed robbers in the US lured unsuspecting players to a remote car park to rob them, while in another incident a US player stumbled across a dead body.”

At the time of writing this there have been no reported car accidents in the UK as a result of people using the app while driving. But if other bad driving habits are anything to go by, it’s only a matter of time. In a study IAM RoadSmart did last year, one in five 25-35 year olds admitted to taking a selfie while driving in the month before alone.

When you’re stuck in traffic, and the vehicles in front are barely moving, smartphones – with all their distractions – are a constant temptation. Pokémon GO is just the latest iteration of that temptation. But this game in particular takes a lot of concentration. Sam Ruwangu, our digital content executive, almost had a Pokémon-related accident simply walking to get a sandwich: “I nearly tripped over playing this game. Pokémon GO makes you concentrate on catching characters and it takes both hand and eye coordination.”

It’s worth bearing in mind the law on mobile phone use at the wheel too. If you’re caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving or riding, you'll get an automatic fixed penalty notice – that’s three penalty points and a fine of £100.

At a point in time where we increasingly worry that kids are spending too many of their formative years glued to games consoles and smart devices, it seems ridiculous to say, but I really do think the game is great for getting out and seeing an area. So get out there and get hunting. Just wait till you’re out of the car. And watch out for that kerb!

Caroline Holmes, IAM RoadSmart's Communications manager.