Don’t Pokemon and Drive signs

Posted by: Marlenia Thornton

Many of us woke up to a surprise Friday morning.

While driving to work, you may have noticed some flashing overhead bulletins saying "Don’t Pokémon and Drive."

They’re all along Interstate 80 as well as various streets in Lincoln.

What you may not know is the mastermind behind them—the Nebraska Department of Roads.

"Our operation center manager sent a photo she saw on Facebook. It was obviously photo shopped an overhead sign that said don’t Pokémon and drive and I said we’re doing this,” Nebraska Department of Roads ITS Engineer Austin Yates said.

It was a last minute decision to change the message, but it’s actually timely.

There have been crashes in the U.S. and abroad because of the popular Smartphone app Pokémon go.

It was released more than a week ago and is reported to be the most popular mobile video game in history.

We have seen the craze here in Lincoln as well as players took over Memorial Stadium Thursday.

Even the department’s ITS engineer Austin Yates has gotten into the addiction.

"I never played Pokémon growing up, however, I will admit I did download the game last night and gave it shot and it’s fun,” Yates said.

So far, there haven’t been any Pokémon Go related crashes reported here in Lincoln or state wide.

NDOR said distracted driving is big problem.

There have been more than 100 deaths on Nebraska roads so far this year.

While it’s unsure how many were from distraction, the department still wants to remind people to be safe.

"We want people to be cognizant that you’re driving a car or truck it’s a huge responsibility and not only is your own safety at stake, but everyone’s else on the roads,” Yates said.

 This is part of the department’s weekly safety message, which is posted every Friday to its Twitter account.