Westminster City Council’s road safety team is issuing a warning about a potential lack of concentration among pedestrians following the launch of Pokémon Go.
Released last week (7 July), the augmented reality game allows players to capture virtual Pokémon who appear in real life locations.
Although not yet technically available in the UK, many users have found ways to download the mobile phone app which has caused a real stir worldwide.
Players are able to track the Pokémon by using the GPS on their smartphone or mobile device – which requires them to look at the screen.
With the school summer holidays on the horizon, Westminster’s road safety team is issuing a plea for those playing the game, especially children and young people, to pay attention in potentially dangerous situations such as crossing the road.
Carla Lowe, Westminster’s road safety officer, said: “Children and adults can download Pokémon Go for free. The game creates an augmented reality where players walk to different locations in real life and catch Pokémon for their collection.
“The major concern is that the player walks, cycles, or gets on/off a bus while at the same time using and watching their mobile device – with a reduced awareness for road safety.”
In a seperate development, the NSPCC has issued a plea to the makers of Pokemon GO introduce safety features before the game is released in the UK (Sky News).
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, told Sky News that the game "raises fundamental child safety concerns".
The RAC is also warning pedestrians and drivers not to get "caught in the Pokémon mist".
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: "The Pokémon GO revolution could take the illegal use of hand-held mobile phones at the wheel to another level.
"it has to be ‘Pokémon no-go’ when driving but it is just as important that pedestrians don’t get caught in the Pokémon mist and find themselves stepping into the path of danger.
“The risks are obvious but this feels like a whole new level of gaming addiction and yet another reason for people to be glued to their smartphones instead of looking where they are going."
Photo via Pokémon Go