Car-related accidents rise in the wake of popular game’s release

By now, any mention of the words “Pokemon” and “Go” will illicit a wide range of reactions from people of all walks of life. That’s in large part to Pokemon Go!, a new augmented reality smartphone game that has caught the attention of the world and driven a lot of people into getting completely addicted. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to catch em all as the Pokemon universe is quick to remind us, an alarming number of car-related crashes and accidents have taken place, all because people were paying far too much attention on the game than in their actual surroundings.

Over the past few weeks since the game’s release, numerous crashes have been reported because drivers have paid more attention scouring for Pokemons than actually driving their cars. Such was the case recently in New York when a 28-year old man crashed into a tree because he admitted to being distracted by the game while behind the wheel of his brother’s car. Fortunately, the driver only suffered minor injuries from the crash. There’s no word on whether he actually caught the Pokemon that he was after, but the point is clear here: lest you want to find yourselves in a similar predicament, play the game when you’re a passenger in the car, not the actual driver.

Just as bad are people finding themselves getting hit by cars because of the game. That actually happened to 15-year old Autumn Deiseroth who was hit by a vehicle when she crossed a four-lane intersection outside of Pittsburgh. According to reports, Deiseroth admitted that she was trying to catch a Pokemon because “we have to cross the roads to get it.” Like the unnamed New Yorker, the young girl lived to tell about the ordeal, but is understandably flush-faced from having to deal with all the scrutiny that came about because of her recklessness.

The prospect of having more car crashes and car accidents has become such a growing concern for law enforcement authorities that some have even taken up to doing pre-emptive strikes on the issue. In Arizona, the Department of Transportation have put up signs on the freeway saying "Driving and Pokemon Go is a no-go."

It certainly goes without saying that the issue is probably going to get worse before it gets better. There are still a lot of countries around the world, including most of Europe and Asia, that have yet to get Pokemon Go!

But wherever you are, the same level of caution holds true, especially if you’re driving a car or crossing roads. Please pay attention to your surroundings.Wrapping your car around a tree or getting run over by traffic isn’t worth it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters


I’m not telling anyone not to play Pokemon Go because in the interest of full disclosure, I play it too. What I will say is that there’s a difference between enjoying the game and becoming so consumed by it that you completely forget your surroundings.

That’s the part about this game that makes it dangerous not only to people who are playing the game, but to those who end up getting unwittingly involved because of someone else’s recklessness. Can you imagine what the driver of the car that hit Autumn Deiseroth must be feeling right now? I can’t, but I’m sure that his or her conscience isn’t too thrilled about the incident either. It’s easy to say that she survived it, but what if she didn’t? What if she died because she wasn’t paying attention when she crossed a four-lane road? What happens then?

Same thing with the driver that turned his brother’s car into a heap. What do you think his brother is thinking now after seeing his car get wrapped around a tree? He’s not too happy about it.

Again, I’m not saying that you don’t play the game outright. I’m saying that when you do, try exercising some caution and continue to be aware of your surroundings. Over 1,000 injuries occur everyday in the U.S. on road accidents involving drivers. There’s no need to add to that number, especially when the root of it can and should be avoided when you’re behind the wheel of a car.

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