Still playing Pokémon Go? While many millions of smartphone users may by now have caught everything they wanted to catch, there are still plenty of diehard fans out there who can’t bear to turn away from the augmented-reality game.
That’s all well and good, though not so if any of them are so addicted they have to play while driving.
A number of Go-related road accidents and even deaths have been reported since the game launched over the summer, prompting the its creator to this week roll out yet another update aimed at stopping the practice once and for all.
It tried discouraging drivers from playing the game with an update in August that prompted players to indicate whether they were a driver or a passenger. The pop-up message appeared whenever the game detected you were in a moving vehicle, but to continue playing, the passenger – or dishonest driver – simply had to tap on the “I’m a passenger” button.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to have had much effect. So the company is having another go. Following its latest update, if the game detects that you’re in a vehicle traveling at more than 30 mph, Pokémon will stop appearing in your area.
Trouble is, that means everyone in the car is prevented from playing. Ditto if you’re a train, bus, taxi, or Uber passenger.
It means Go addicts intent on driving and playing will have to travel at 29 mph everywhere they go, or simply crawl around the neighborhood in their vehicle like this guy did. Though he ended up getting pulled over by the cops for his efforts.
It didn’t take long for stories to surface of accidents caused by Go drivers. A guy in Baltimore, for example, admitted he’d been trying to catch ’em all when he slammed into, of all things, a cop car.
Meanwhile, this guy drove straight into a tree in a residential neighborhood four days after downloading the game. “I broke both my ankles and I suffered a deep laceration on my elbow and knee as well as cuts and bruises,” Steven Cary told the Guardian. And no, he didn’t catch the Lapras he was after.
Cops in Melbourne, Australia arrived at the scene of a crash where a man had been “trying to capture a creature from the Pokémon Go app” when he ended up careering off the road and into a school. Fortunately no one was hurt.
An elderly woman in Japan, however, wasn’t so lucky. The 72 year old was out walking with a friend in August when she was hit and killed by a truck. The driver was allegedly playing the popular smartphone game when the accident occurred.