While returning from JFK airport the past weekend after picking up my family on their return from Los Angeles, my daughter informed me that there was a Pokémon in the Queens-Midtown Tunnel that connects Queens to Manhattan.
Guess what game she was playing?
Thankfully, she’s only 13 and isn’t driving yet. And even more thankfully, I was driving and I can’t stand video games of any sort, unless you’ve got an arcade version of 1981’s “Tempest.”
But now that there has been at least one car accident connected, reportedly, to “Pokémon GO,” I’m prepared to declare that I’m flatly astonished.
Thirty years ago, fiddling with an AM/FM radio while driving was enough to send you to your final reward. Today’s cars contain a dizzying range of far more distracting technologies. But people are still texting and driving, even though informal studies indicate that this behaviour is worse than driving drunk.
Now they’re trying to hunt down Pokémon, from behind the wheel.
Why would anyone do this? Help me to understand.
Because I do get the physics.
On Tuesday, while driving to Manhattan from New Jersey, I watched a fairly horrible car accident happen about five cars in front of me. The driver lost control at about 6o miles per hours, veering right then sharply left, across a lane, and the vehicle crashed and crashed hard into a concrete separating barrier, completely destroying the front end and causing every airbag to deploy.
I pulled over and called 911, and the driver wasn’t seriously injured.
But this is what takes place in a car accident: rapid carnage. The driver was fortunate to be unhurt. The crash could have ended in death. If not for the car being modern and packed with safety features, the outcome could have been tragic.
I’m starting to believe that automakers should include technologies in cars that disable devices for all but hand-free voice phone calls when a vehicle is moving.
“Pokémon GO” is just adding fuel to my fire on this one.
But let’s not blame the gamemaker for causing accidents.
Let’s blame the people who have made the incredibly recklessly decision to play what is by all accounts an addictive distraction while operating a machine of several thousand pounds with the power to go 100 mph. Trust me on this one: you don’t want to take the risk.