Since its launch on July 6, Pokémon Go has sent players out on the street looking to catch the virtual monsters that pop up on their cell phone screens. With so many people paying even more attention to their phones, police departments and transit agencies across the country have been forced to issue warning about the dangers of playing the game.
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where you use the GPS in the app along with your cell phone camera to spot creatures in ordinary locations like sidewalks, parks and building known as PokéStops. Since the creatures can only be seen through the camera, players are walking while staring down at their touchscreens in the hopes of catching one of the monsters. Millions of people have already downloaded the game and the reports of injuries began to hit social media almost immediately.
The National Safety Council released a statement urging players “to consider safety over their score before a life is lost.” The safety warning has been echoed by many government agencies across the country. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has cautioned against, “real world consequences” with the virtual game. The DMV emphasized the importance of staying away from the game and off your phone while crossing the street to avoid a pedestrian accident, or even worse when you are behind the wheel and can cause a serious car accident due to distracted driving.
The Pokémon Go app has a warning while the game is loading for players to pay attention to their surroundings, and the company who owns the game says they are constantly examining different ways to include new safety features. In the meantime, players have been injured by walking into doors and trees, slipping on wet surfaces, tripping on sidewalk hazards, and even falling off bicycles while playing the game.
Where the virtual creatures pop up in Pokémon Go has also been cause for concern. As long as the app is open and there is internet access, it’s game-on. This includes sightings near subway tracks, which led the MTA to send out a tweet reminding commuters to stand behind the yellow line on station platforms. Players glued to their screens have also been wandering into abandoned buildings, construction sites and unlit streets and alleys. In Missouri, four teenagers were arrested for armed robbery for allegedly luring players to a PokéStop in order to rob them.
The bottom line with the Pokémon Go craze is to stay alert and aware of your surroundings in order to stay safe, accident free and injury free. Accidents will still happen in the real world even if you are not engaging in the virtual one. If you have been involved in any type of accident where another party is responsible for your injuries, please contact the experienced lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help get the compensation you are entitled to.