It launched July 6 and already has become the most profitable game in Google and Apple’s app stores.
“Pokémon Go is a game. Driving is NOT a game,” says John B. Townsend II, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Playing games while driving is a distraction just like sending or reading a text while driving. Put your phone down while behind the wheel. One quick text or glance to see the next Pokéstop could end up causing a crash or worse – costing you or someone else their life.”
Cellphones and driving have proved to be a deadly combination. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is responsible for the deaths of one out of every 10 drivers nationwide. Drivers who take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds can double their risk of being in a crash.
And it’s not just drivers who need to watch out. Pedestrians also need to pay attention, whether walking on sidewalks or crossing streets.
“Pedestrians playing the game should be aware of where they are and what they’re doing and not inadvertently walk into traffic chasing a Pokémon,” Townsend said. “Distracted pedestrians are just as likely to cause a crash by not paying attention to surrounding roadways and traffic.”
In the District and Maryland, using a handheld cell phone while driving is prohibited. In Virginia, new drivers and bus drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving; all drivers are prohibited from texting and emailing while driving. A new Virginia law that became effective July 1, expanded the cell phone ban from those 18 years and under to any person who holds a learner’s permit.
AAA Mid-Atlantic isn’t the only group urging caution for players.
A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences sent out an email to its student body reminding them to be careful.
“Please approach them with caution and remember to look up from your phone to avoid tripping or running into something.”
And bikers beware too, as this woman shows.