Pokémon Go and What It Means for Drivers

A police helicopter captures nighttime video of a man driving erratically. He was sober, just playing Pokémon Go while driving. Gotta catch 'em...
  1. Dito
    Out on patrol last week, a police helicopter in the metro Toronto area spotted something worth checking out: a Mercedes, driving erratically, late at night. The driver stopped in his lane, started up again, changed lanes, made some arbitrary and sloppy turns, backtracked to where he'd already driven... can you see why this might catch the attention of local law enforcement?

    Only it wasn't drunken driving. Or texting and driving. It was Pokémon Go and driving. As if texting and driving wasn't bad enough, now people are trying to catch Pokémon while driving? Here's the video in question:

    It's kind of funny to hear the helicopter pilot radio in and say, "I hope he got 'em all". But it's really not funny. It's incredible stupidity, caught on video.

    The good news is that it was around 3AM and the roads were mainly empty (although you can spot a tanker truck cruising along in one shot). The bad news is that I'm sure it's going on during busy traffic times as well. To be blunt, that's stupid - even stupider than texting and driving.

    46 of 50 states currently ban texting while driving. While we're at it, let's call out Arizona, Missouri, Montana, and Texas for not having a texting ban law in place. These laws aren't put in place to generate revenue, as some people like to complain about traffic laws. These laws save lives. Not just the lives of the driver, but of innocent bystanders as well.

    Here's some innocent bystanders who just happened to be Baltimore police officers. Their cruiser was parked at the curb as several officers had a discussion. What happened next was caught on one of the officer's body cams:

    Thankfully, no one was injured in what could have been a catastrophic collision. Sure, someone's SUV got banged up and a police cruiser needs some body work, but that could have been a car stopped at a red light, a car crossing the intersection, or even worse, a pedestrian crossing the street.

    I just happen to know some people who were injured in a distracted-driving accident. They were not the distracted ones. They were simply motoring along, on a short road trip. We'll call them S and K, since those happen to be their initials. S suffered a shattered ankle of the type most commonly seen in racing drivers. Add in a broken wrist and thumb. K had to be cut out of the car by paramedics. As the accident happened on her side of the car, she got the worst of it. All three bones of one leg broken. A broken arm. Several broken ribs. A broken orbital bone. They've both been through multiple surgeries and won't be able to walk for months. Months.

    Think about that the next time you see someone trying to sneak a text while driving. You might end up not being able to walk for months. And if it's you trying to sneak just that one quick text while behind the wheel... I don't want to know you. You're reckless at best and suicidal at worst.

    Now let's scale it up to Pokémon Go, a competitive, interactive experience. Anyone playing this while driving deserves more than the standard "phone use while driving" ticket and a $50 fine.

    This may sound like a lecture, because it is. We need to stop this before it gets out of control. Pokémon Go shows no signs of slowing down, and people don't seem to be getting any smarter.

    [Sources: GameSpot, USA Today, Governor's Highway Safety Association]

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    About Author

    Dito has written two crime novels, an ungodly number of technical documents, and even an original Wikipedia entry. He lives in Chicago, where they know how to properly do pizza, hot dogs, and electric blues. Besides gaming, his hobbies include graphic design, making electronic music, and collecting cables.


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  1. BaM BooZeLLed
    I dont know what's scarier the the pokemon guy, or the chopper flying around watching whatever they feel like.
  2. BreakdowN
    I don't play anymore but I did Pokemon go and drive at night where I am. I wouldn't try and catch em while driving, but I'd pull over onto the side if there was one around that I wanted.

    However, it's no excuse and if I got into an accident I'd be held responsible. But unlike these morons, not only did I not hit anything, I didn't get caught.
  3. Keeley Hazell
    I stopped playing this game who cares lol. Survival of the fittest
  4. Jon m9
    It is what it is
  5. 3xTiNcT
    All I see on the road is people playing this now. I watched someone go forward and reverse through an intersection multiple times one night.
  6. M0B5TA
    I drive manual, no free hand.
      denz, bundito, 3xTiNcT and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Salus
      Paddle shifts
    3. denz
      Paddle shifts still need 2 hands.
    4. RockstarProPlayer
      if you have paddles your car should have a auto mode too...
  7. Harry
    It's crazy how many I know who play Pokemon GO whilst driving. I've tried to tell people that it's bad but no one ever listens.

    I'll show them this video and hopefully it will open their eyes a little.
      Feyfolken and bundito like this.
  8. Salus
    Rip to gaming news, this game should be dead by now tbh it got old too fast
      Keeley Hazell likes this.
    1. Feyfolken
      Not sure what you mean. Driving while distracted (especially with Pokemon Go players) is still widely prevalent and the videos used as references are recent, as well. The game's popularity is still sky high.
      Zelkaar likes this.
    2. goss34
      I agree, much of the Pokemon Go news is pretty much old now since the same news is being repeated with small minor differences.
      Salus likes this.
  9. Feyfolken
    Gotta agree with you, my friend. I was driving home just a few days ago and saw a woman nearly drive me and my dad off the road because she was playing Pokemon Go. She got close enough to my car that I could see that she was attempting to catch a Drowzee. Really embarrassing and I'm sad to say she was in the same age group as me.

    I'm glad that others have such a strong opinion against it. Hopefully, most people do.
      Shalour likes this.