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Pokémon Go Craze Poses Risk of Distracted Driving Crashes

For those wondering why their city suddenly seems to have more people out and about, a hit new game called Pokémon Go has people of all ages outside searching for Pokémon (yes, from that ’90s Japanese craze) to add to their collection.

The smartphone app superimposes cartoon characters on top of the image from the phone’s camera and, in conjunction with its GPS, creates a virtual reality game that makes it look like the Pokémon are on your street, or in parks, restaurants, businesses, etc. The app was an instant success, earning $7.5 billion in just two days, and according to Reuters, already had a higher usage rate than Twitter or Instagram less than a week after it was released.

Risks of the Game

The runaway success of the app has some undeniable benefits. Local businesses, museums, and even churches are seeing more traffic and interest because of the hordes of people looking for Pokémon to collect. Many people are going outdoors more often than before, getting more exercise, and interacting with other Pokémon Go players. But there are major risks involved in playing the game.

Reports are already coming in about some of the negative effects of playing. For example, a person in Wyoming who found a dead body while looking for Pokémon, a group of people in Missouri were lured to a remote area and robbed at gunpoint, and other such incidents have been reported. The risk of playing an engrossing game outside is that your attention is taken away from things that impact your personal safety.

Distracted Drivers and Pedestrians

As a pedestrian, sharing spaces with cars, bicycles, and outdoor obstacles, you can easily be injured if you are not paying attention. So it’s unsurprising that many have reported tripping and falling over things, running into things, and otherwise injuring themselves while playing the game.

There have also been reports of people stepping out into traffic without paying attention, and at least one pedestrian has already been hit by a car while playing the game. It is enough of a risk that the state departments of transportation, police departments and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are all issuing warnings to users to pay attention to their surroundings while playing the game, and more importantly, not to play Pokémon Go while driving.

According to WCNC in Charlotte, distracted driving deaths in North Carolina last year were 10% higher than the previous year. Distracted driving until now usually meant that the driver was on the phone, texting or browsing, or playing with the radio. With the popularity of Pokémon Go, there’s a real risk that drivers will try to play while behind the wheel, and the results could be catastrophic.

Stay safe, don’t play while driving, don’t let your friends play while driving, and remember to pay attention to your surroundings when you’re out and about looking for Pikachu or Jigglypuff.

If you or someone you love is injured by a distracted driver in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, let the experienced car accident lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP help you. Your initial consultation with our legal team is always free, and we can provide you with the information you need about your legal rights. Use our online form or call our offices to schedule your free case consultation today.

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