Because motor vehicles are primary forms of transportation for many in Alabama, drivers may spend long stretches of time behind the wheel as they travel the state headed to work, school or other destinations. Keeping total focus on the task of driving at all times is necessary for safety, but according to Distraction.gov, the proliferation of smartphones has led to many distracted driving accidents.
Many interactions with smartphones involve visual and manual tasks as well as mental focus, and when a driver takes one or both hands off the wheel and looks away from the road, the risk of a crash rises by as much as 23 times. Common distractions include using a navigation tool such as a GPS app, holding a conversation or texting. On average, a driver looks away from the road for about the length of a football field when reading or sending a text. One-third of the drivers participating in one survey admitted to sending texts while behind the wheel.
According to Reuters, a smartphone game has recently been released that involves both a virtual and physical search for animated characters. This app, known as Pokémon Go, engages the device’s camera and GPS function as players travel to the locations where they electronically record their finds. Since the game’s introduction, pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents have been reported due to distracted walking and driving while playing. Law enforcement officials warn people to engage in the game with caution, and maintain awareness of their environment at all times.