Pokémon Go has been the epitome of an overnight success. We’d be very surprised if you hadn’t heard of it by now.
For those of you who haven't, though, it’s an app based on the Pokémon gaming franchise that allows users to find the fictional creatures in the real world by using augmented reality.
There has been a spate of health and safety warnings concerning the app, ranging from child safety to muggings by tech-savvy criminals. The latest has come from the police, warning that some (lazy) users are trying to catch ‘em all from behind the wheel of their cars.
Come on, people. This is very, very stupid.
Aside from the obvious safety standpoint, it’s not very practical in-game, anyway. Of course, the likelihood of people doing this is almost inevitable, seeing as the app's use is so widespread and the game is travel-based, but we can’t think of many more stupid reasons to lose your life.
Even IAM Roadsmart are in on the warnings; the institute, which promotes better driving, issued a statement urging motorists not to take the risk, while also reminding us that 15% of drivers aged 18-25 and 19% of drivers aged 25-35 admitted to taking a selfie while driving.
Samson Ruwangu, digital content executive at IAM Roadsmart, said: "Pokémon Go makes you concentrate on catching characters and it takes both hand and eye co-ordination," before adding: "While looking out for Eevee, Weedle and the rest is great fun, it is important to keep concentration on what matters – and that’s keeping your eyes on the road. Psyduck can wait for later."
Drivers doing this might also soon be risking a £150 fine and four penalty points on their licence as well as their life if caught using their phone behind the wheel. It’s little wonder there’s so much traction behind the idea of increasing the severity of punishments if people are seriously taking their attention away from the road to bag a Bulbasaur.
It does make you wonder, though. While it’s illegal and very very dangerous to use your handheld touchscreen device behind the wheel, it's not illegal (but arguably still very very dangerous) to use your car’s inbuilt touchscreen infotainment system while driving. Some cars do prevent you from using the screen while on the move, but they’re in the minority.
Thankfully, the apps supported by MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on such systems don’t include Pokémon Go. Yet the prominence and function of touchscreens in modern cars are a concern that's growing faster than screen sizes.
So we put it to you, Autocar readers, what’s the solution? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any answers or thoughts on this baffling problem, or if you're more driven to distraction (sorry) by ever larger infotainment systems in cars.