If you haven’t yet heard about the global phenomenon that is Pokémon
Go, one look at the news will tell you that it is already causing quite
a stir. The Nintendo smartphone game has met with huge success (it is
estimated that between 5 million and 25 million people have been playing
since its launch earlier this month), but it has also received attention
for unintended consequences, including a number of reported accidents
Texting and driving has always been a serious issue, but Pokémon
Go may be the latest behind-the-wheel distraction. Just last week, USA
today reported that an Auburn, New York man
crashed his car into a tree while attempting to “catch” a Pokémon. Thankfully,
there were no pedestrians nearby at the time of the accident, and the
driver sustained only minor injuries. This is just one of many reported
Pokémon-related car accidents that are occurring across America.
TIME Magazine reported that in Pennsylvania,
a teenager was hit by a car when she crossed a major highway during rush hour while playing the game,
landing her in the hospital with bruising and minor injuries. TIME also
reported that in California,
two men had to be rescued after falling from an ocean bluff while playing the game in San Diego.
The men, both in their early 20s, had wandered over a fenced area in an
attempt to catch the digital monsters. One fell between 75 and 100 feet,
and the other fell about 50 feet. Both were found by firefighters and
were hospitalized with moderate injuries.
Police officers in Baltimore, Maryland caught a young man in a Toyota Rav4
running into the back of a patrol car on his body cam. The man admitted
to being distracted while driving because he was playing Pokémon Go.
Todd Miner Law advises you to exercise caution while you or your children
enjoy using a smartphone game. We also believe the following specific
advice bears repeating:
Never use a smartphone game while you are operating a motor vehicle or bicycle.
- Of course never text or e-mail while driving.
- Be aware of your surroundings instead of staring down at your phone while
you are walking. Failing to pay attention to what is around you could
cause you to miss certain hazards and lead to serious injury.