Driving While Playing Pokemon Go May Soon Be Illegal

Driving while playing “Pokemon Go” may soon be illegal in California. According to the LA Times, the state Assembly on Tuesday sent a new bill proposal to Gov. Jerry Brown that would increase the ban on texting while driving to include other mobile phone activity, including playing “Pokemon Go”. This would also close a current loophole in the California law. In 2014, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the existing law only prohibits a driver from holding a wireless phone while talking on it.

The new bill would ban use of a handheld device in any way that would distract the driver, including but certainly not limited to “Pokemon Go”. According to Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), it’s “an important step in reducing distracted-driving accidents, injuries and deaths.”

“Pokemon Go” creators Niantic have included messages discouraging playing the game while driving since launch. Most recently they added a message that pops-up when a player is moving to fast, forcing the player to push the “I’m a passenger” button to keep playing.

Apparently, however, these features aren’t enough. The new proposal comes right after a week in which we saw two fatalities linked to driving while playing “Pokemon Go”. Both accidents occurred in Japan; the first involved a distracted driver hitting two pedestrians, and the second involved a distracted driver hitting a cyclist.

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