The iconic 90’s television and video game franchise has been experiencing a surge of newfound attention since the release of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game that brings the recognizable cast of pocket sized monsters onto your smartphone and tasks users to catch them all. While Pokemon Go has been a sweeping success since its release just a few weeks ago, the popular app has unfortunately led to carelessness among some of its users. Practically as soon as the game was released, stories began to surface of players behaving inattentively, trespassing in search of Pokemon, or worst of all, playing the game while behind the wheel of a car.
Part of Niantic’s goal behind Pokemon Go was to encourage gamers to get outside and exercise, and to interact with other players face to face. As such, the game is designed so that users have to walk around to find new Pokemon. Unfortunately, some players would rather play the game without the burden of getting a little fresh air and exercise, which has led some of the app’s users to play the game while driving. This poses an obvious problem, as it means more drivers are taking their eyes of the road in search of the virtual creatures that now inhabit our world and the implications are obviously dangerous.
With so many players taking the game behind the wheel, it was only a matter of time before the accidents started to rack up. There have been plenty of reports since Pokemon Go was released detailing accidents related to careless driving while playing the game. In Baltimore, a driver crashed into a parked police squad car after he became distracted while playing Pokemon Go. Luckily no one was injured, but the whole ordeal will no doubt be costly in addition to embarrassing.
Another driver in Auburn, New York crashed his vehicle into a tree, resulting in minor injuries to the motorist and some serious damage to his car. The man was playing Pokemon Go and veered off the road, striking the tree. Thankfully there were no fatalities in the accident, but it just goes to show how easily an accident can arise from distracted driving.
Keep Your Eyes On Reality
Pokemon Go is an innovative product that has spread like wildfire, but it’s important for players to remember that the colorful world presented in the game is separate from reality. There’s been plenty of talk about distracted driving since cell phones and text messaging became popular, and there’s no reason to think that augmented reality games are any different. Drivers and pedestrians need to heed Niantic’s in-game warnings and stay alert and aware at all times while playing the game, because no Pokemon is worth getting into an accident over. If you have any more questions about the issue of distracted driving and Pokemon Go, contact your lawyer.