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 and injuries.
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.