Safe Traffic group warns of dangers of playing Pokémon in traffic

Cars on E18 at Lysaker.Cars on E18 at Lysaker.Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

There has been an increase of over 30 percent in the number of fatalities in traffic so far this year. It worries Safe Traffic, which warned of inattentive drivers who play Pokemon GO and send messages.

– There has been a sharp increase in the number of fatalities in traffic. We have not received the official figures for July yet, but based on the reports we have received from the police they do not look good. Already halfway into July we had passed the level of last July, said senior adviser Bård Morten Johansen of Road Safety.

According to Safe Traffic at least 15 people were killed in traffic so far in July, but this figure could be adjusted when the official statistics are done.

– We’re going to pass last year’s figures for the first two summer months, and it’s sad. It shows there is mostly head on collision and people going off the road. We see that there are too many inattentive drivers, says Johansen.

Good trend taking a turn

From January to the month of June 61 people have died in traffic. Statistically there are more fatal road accidents in the summer than in the winter in Norway. The death toll has nevertheless remained low for several years, but the trend is about to reverse, according to Road Safety.

Also in June, far more people were killed than during the same time last year, and Safe Traffic think this negative trend will continue in July.

– We are concerned, and we see that we have a disturbance of the positive trend we have had for a long time. There had been fewer and fewer traffic fatalities. With 117 deaths last year, it made it the best country in  Europe and the world. We see that in the spring and early summer, there has been a change. It is not easy to find the cause, but one explanation is that it is increasingly more things in traffic that occupy attention, says Johansen.

Mobile’s stealing attention

Their attention is elsewhere other than through the windshield of the car, it is a major challenge, he said.

– It could be anything from daydreaming to replying to a text message,  or that you are looking for a pokémon. We often see high speed as the cause of accidents, it is absolutely essential that you have your eyes on traffic and road, says Johnsen.

As recently as the weekend a couple was fined in Drammen fir driving in the wrong direction when they played the hugely popular mobile game Pokémon GO.

Too many also respond to text messages while they’re behind the wheel.

– Whoever is the driver must only be driver, so get out of  the car to be Pokémon trainers, says Johnsen.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today