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About a week after Pokemon Go launched here in the U.S. and we've got our first confirmed case of a car accident involving the game. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt, though the car was basically totaled.
Over on CNET, they're reporting that a driver in Auburn, New York, plowed their car into a tree on July 12. The driver confirmed that they were playing Pokemon Go at the time, making them the poster child for what not to do while driving your car.
The article referred to the car as a "3,000-pound death sled," which I think really drives home the fact that Pokemon Go and automobiles don't mix. This time around, the Auburn driver hit a tree and was spared any serious injuries of their own. Folks might not be so lucky next time.
For those of you who are still somehow unfamiliar with Pokemon Go, it's a mobile game that lets you catch and train the iconic critters in the real world. Think of it as game-ified geocaching and you've got the idea. You need to actually move around to take full advantage of the game, though, strolling or jogging from location to location to snag new Pokemon, visit PokeStops and gyms or even tack on some miles in order to hatch eggs.
That all sounds fantastic on paper but, unfortunately, folks like this driver in Auburn exist. The game won't function properly if you're moving above a certain speed, which is a pretty good way of discouraging folks from playing while driving. Still, it's possible to "try" to play Pokemon Go in a moving car, which can lead to, say, wrapping your vehicle around a tree.
From the USA Today coverage of the crash, additional comments from Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler remind players to enjoy Pokemon Go responsibly. Chief Butler reminded Trainers not to play Pokemon Go while driving a car or bicycle and also stated that folks should remember that trespassing, even to catch a Pokemon, is still a crime. He went on to encourage folks to be aware of their surroundings by not just staring at their phone the whole time, and said folks should exercise caution when sharing their location. Finally, Chief Butler recommended people play in groups, especially at night.
Here in Arizona, the Department of Transportation caught on to the Pokemon Go craze with a quickness. On the freeway can be seen signs that state "Driving and Pokemon Go is a no-go."
All of this stuff seems like refreshers in common sense but, then again, we have folks like this driver in Auburn reminding us that many of our numbers are lacking in that department.
Once again, be safe out there, folks.