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A new hurdle for distracted driving

While battling in a Pokémon game, scoring critical hits are a surefire way to win a duel. With the reality-gaming based app Pokémon Go, critical hits post a much greater danger as they have a chance to become literal.

The smartphone application, which allows players to catch augmented reality Pokémon in real-world locations, has rocketed to the top of popular discussion since its recent launch. Apple has confirmed that it has broken the record for most downloads in an app's first week of release, while 7ParkData reports Pokémon Go users spend over twice the amount of time on the app than they do on social media juggernaut Facebook.

Explained simply, the app uses mapping data to generate Pokémon spawning locations, Pokestops and Pokémon gyms that require users to travel their immediate area to play the game. For many, this resembles the adventures posited by both the popular video games and television series. This integration into physical locations, however, poses tangible risks.

Since its launch, multiple accidents related to Pokémon Go have been reported - two of which occurred in Wisconsin. In both crashes, men drove their cars into a tree in Verona. Fortunately, they only sustained non-life-threatening injuries. There have been similar incidents throughout the country.

In response to the app's launch, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has issued warnings about Pokémon Go over numerous Wisconsin interstate message boards. Distracted driving endangers lives and livelihoods, and no rare Pokémon is worth that risk.

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La Crosse, WI 54601

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