A 28-year-old driver in Auburn, New York crashed into a tree on Tuesday night. He was reportedly playing “Pokémon GO,” the wildly popular new mobile game where players track and catch Pokémon in the real world using their phone camera.
This is seemingly the first major car crash caused by “Pokémon GO.” Here’s what the car looks like:
Thankfully, the driver is alive and well; according to Auburn’s The Citizen, “Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler said the driver sustained lacerations to both legs and was disoriented, but was not seriously injured.”
According to the Auburn Police Department’s statement, the driver “admitted to actively playing the ‘Pokémon GO’ game while driving causing him to become distracted and run off the roadway into a tree.”
Like many police departments, the Auburn Police Department issued a list of reminders warning against the dangers of playing “Pokémon GO.” They are:
- Do not use the application when you are operating a motor vehicle or bicycle
- Do not trespass on private property when trying to “catch” a Pokemon
- Be aware of your surroundings when walking and do not stare down at your phone not knowing hazards around you, like roadways, drop-offs, waterways, etc.
- Use caution when sharing your location as strangers can see your location information
- Travel in groups in public/well lit locations
Given the widespread popularity of “Pokémon GO,” a variety of criminal incidents are already tied to the game. Police in Missouri arrested four people suspected of tracking and robbing “Pokémon GO” players. The Philadelphia Police Department similarly issued a warning regarding suspects involved in robberies using “Pokémon GO.” In one instance, a woman in Wyoming stumbled on a dead body while hunting for water Pokémon.
Of course, the loading screen in the game specifically says to be mindful of your surroundings while playing. Unfortunately for this gentleman in Auburn, New York, the warning doesn’t also say, “And obviously, seriously, don’t play the game while driving.”
Be safe our there, folks.