Rebecca Bernard
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First Pokémon Go Car Accident with Injuries Reported

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Auburn Pokemon Go Crash

This is your car on Pokémon Go
Photo: Auburn Police Department

It has finally happened. Pokémon Go has caused a fairly serious car accident, with Auburn, New York, being the unlucky host city. According to police, who have not identified who was behind the wheel, the driver was distracted by the very popular app and drove his car off of the road and into a tree. The car is totaled, and the driver is very lucky to have escaped with minor injuries, as The Auburn Citizen reports that the engine was starting to break into the passenger compartment.

Before this incident, Reddit had reported that at least one driver that had to take their car in for repairs because of Pokémon Go. An Audi driver had to bring their very expensive car into the shop for a checkup after running over a curb while engrossed in the game. The driver paid cash because, as Jalopnik put it, no one wants their insurance company finding out that they were playing a game while driving. While that stunt alone makes me question the driver’s sanity, I also want to know why the Audi driver admitted to crashing because of the game. That makes it much more likely that the incident will be spread around the internet (and that the service department will be laughing at you for years to come).

Dear readers, we talked about this early this week. Do not play Pokémon Go in a vehicle. I’m not just talking about people that play while driving themselves, but also about passengers who direct drivers to make sudden stops because they must catch the little monsters on their radars. Besides putting the car you are riding in and its passengers at risk, you’re endangering the lives of any cars or pedestrians that might cross your path. It’s a bull-headed, reckless, careless, stupid, and reprehensible thing to do. Distracted driving kills, no matter if you’re texting, making a call, or playing a game on your phone. Put it down.

Do you want to get rear-ended? Because that's how you get rear-ended.

The Auburn police decided to make the accident a teachable moment, instead of using it as an opportunity to shame the driver. The police chief himself issued this advisory:

  • 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 Pokémon.
  • 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.

Be safe out there, Pokémon trainers, and please just take a walk to play this highly-addictive new game.

News Source: The Auburn Citizen, the Auburn Police Department, and Jalopnik