New, common sense road rule: Don’t Pokémon Go and drive

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HARTFORD -- The Pokémon Go craze is big business, but the app seems to be adding to the ever-present problem of distracted driving.

Travelers Insurance has taken note of the problem now being associated with Pokémon Go and other so-called "augmented reality apps."

"I'm a little surprised to find that we are talking about Pokémon," said Chris Hayes, a second vice president of risk control for transportation at Travelers in downtown Hartford. "Just in the last few weeks we've seen a real increase in the use of gaming in phones."

Hayes noted that the Pokémon Go game also poses problems for pedestrians.

"Be mindful of your surroundings, don't assume cars see you and if you're driving, be aware that people walking down the street might not be paying attention to you," he said.

Another business that is keenly aware of the popularity of the Pokémon game is Turnpike Motors Autobody in Newington.

"Pokémon has infiltrated our business," said Dan Hovey, a manager at the busy body shop.

car damaged from pokemon goSo far, Hovey says two cars on their lot have been victims of Pokémon Go.

"It took seven days for us to get our first "Poke-crash," Hovey said, referring to a white sedan that was rear ended after a driver was apparently focusing too closely on game play rather than the road. "We're already getting very severe accidents from people trying to catch Pokémon on their morning commute."

Hayes said apps like Pokémon Go enhance the dangers on the sidewalks and on the roads so common sense and self-awareness is key.

"People have always been distracted driving, people have been distracted walking, it's just that its more enhanced than it had been."