Pokémon Go is the New Distracted Driving


People slamming into trees. Or cop cars. Players running into traffic. Anxious competitors jumping off cliffs. Brakes, bruises, injuries, all in pursuit of that cute, little, wait a minute, what are those creatures in Pokémon Go anyway?

Pokémon Go is the latest gaming craze (see phenomenon) in which players use iPhone and Android phones to search and find 100’s virtual Pokémon characters. The Pokémon characters can be located in parks, malls and other public areas. Sounds fun? It can be. However, some players are so consumed by the virtual world for which the game is played that they’ve blocked out real world hazards, like traffic, restricted areas and dangerous terrain. Some people even have thousands of Minecraft Servers that they can get to share with the people they play.The craze for games is not just a children’s thing.

Others, in pursuit of Pokémon characters, have engaged in distracted or reckless driving. Reckless driving is already a national problem attributing to 5,000 deaths a year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The Pokémon Go craze provides additional potential for harm with a number of high profile accidents taking place in the first two weeks of the game’s launch. In Baltimore, MD, a man slammed into a police cruiser while playing Pokémon Go. A driver in Auburn, NY slammed into a tree while playing the game. Thankfully, no major injuries were reported in either crash.

The same could not be said for two young men in California who fell nearly 90 feet from a cliff while chasing after a Pokémon character. Both were taking to a local trauma center with unspecified injuries. There are also reports of a 15-year-old girl in Western Pennsylvania who was hit by a car while playing the game and crossing a busy highway. She was treated for injuries to her collarbone and foot.

We at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. have a provided a few tips to help you stay safe while playing Pokémon Go:

  • Do not play Pokémon Go while driving – Thankfully, the people in the distracted driving examples that we mentioned previously were not fatally injured that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen in the future.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – It’s important to stay cognizant of your surroundings, not only to avoid walking on to roadways but to ensure that you are staying out of other dangerous situations, including armed robbery. Beware of suspicious situations.
  • Do not trespass on to others’ properties or restricted areas – Along with distracted driving and entering potentially dangerous situations, some Pokémon Go players have entered private property or restricted areas in order to be successful in the game. Both cases have already proved problematic and there have been a number of complaints about players entering areas of reflection like United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in search of characters.

What’s important to realize is that Pokémon Go, while engaging, is only a game and not worth incurring harm to yourself or others. If you are involved in an incident in which you are hurt, contact the catastrophic injury attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. They will work with you to ensure you get the justice you deserve. Contact them today at 844-511-4800.