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Pokémon No! Drivers playing ‘Pokémon Go’ is a dangerous game where everyone loses!

July 15, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

One reckless gamer playing Pokémon Go found himself having to explain to police how he drove his car into a tree


I recently asked: “What is dumber than a #DrivingSelfie?

“Not much,” I wrote.

Well, sadly, I think I’ve found a new contender. And as an automobile accident lawyer who writes a safety blog that often deals with distracted driving, I don’t much like this trending form of very dangerous driving:

Driving while playing Pokémon Go, the app-based game that can be played on people’s cell phones.

This game is apparently a hot new thing, but it’s a fad that I hope quickly disappears. I just read a USA Today story about a New York state man who drove his car into a tree because he was playing Pokémon Go while he was driving:

  • The police “responded to an accident around 10:45 p.m. ET to find a vehicle that had gone off the road and struck a tree. The driver admitted to actively playing the Pokémon Go game while driving, which caused him to be distracted.”
  • The police added that: ‘”[l]uckily the driver was not seriously injured but this is an example of how easily accidents can occur when someone is engaged in the game and not paying attention …’”

Watch the Road, Not your cell phones

Honestly, have these people lost their minds?

Playing a game on a person’s cellphone while they’re driving cars that weigh thousands of pounds, with eyeballs not on the road but on a cell phone.

Distracted driving, and especially texting and driving, plays an increasingly prominent role as the cause of more and more of the car accidents that the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law litigate, and my bet is that the crash risk involved and the time with eyes-off-the-road likely is the same or worse than it is for texting-while-driving.

The man in New York state only hit a tree. But he could’ve just as easily hit another car, or run over a couple taking a stroll, a jogger, teenagers bicycling home or anyone else on an otherwise peaceful summer night. And like so many of the auto accidents we see, it would be entirely preventable if only the driver were paying attention with his eyes on the road.

What is Pokémon Go?

Here’s how USA Today describes the game which, when played while driving, is becoming the latest form of dangerous – and deadly – distracted driving:

“Pokémon Go is a mobile game that allows smartphone users to fight digital monsters in real life as they explore their surroundings in search of virtual Pokémon characters. It has caused some safety concerns, as players travel around while looking at their phone’s screen without regard to their surroundings.”


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