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Nintendo augmented reality game linked to car accidents

A disturbing number of drivers in California and around the country have no issue with using their cellphones while behind the wheel, and these motorists often do far more than make calls or read text messages. The National Safety Council surveyed drivers from a variety of demographic groups, and 74 percent of the 2,400 motorists polled admitted that they routinely visited Facebook while driving. Perhaps even more shocking was the revelation that 35 percent of those polled said that they sometimes watch YouTube videos while behind the wheel.

Road safety advocates have been concerned about the rise in distracted driving for some time, and media outlets have been paying more attention to the issue in recent weeks due to the phenomenal popularity of the smartphone game Pokémon GO. The Nintendo augmented reality puzzler has been downloaded by millions of Americans following its July 6 release, and drivers distracted by it have been linked with at least two collisions.

Public awareness campaigns about distracted driving are often aimed primarily at teens, and a Liberty Mutual survey of 2,500 high schoolers has also produced troubling results. Close to 70 percent of the students polled by the insurance giant admitted to using smartphone apps while driving, and only 6 percent saw this behavior as being the most dangerous while behind the wheel. Experts say that this could be because teens are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure and often feel compelled to reply to text messages or social media posts right away.

Accidents involving distracted drivers can be challenging for personal injury attorneys seeking compensation for passengers or others on the road who have been injured as a result. Motorists are often reluctant to admit to being distracted, and attorneys may study their cellphone records or data recorded by their automobiles to establish liability.

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