Monday 5 December 2016

‘Is catching Bulbasaur worth a potential court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000?’- AA issues warning to Irish Pokemon GO players

Published 14/07/2016 | 12:03

Pokemon Go players should keep their road safety in mind warns expert
Pokemon Go players should keep their road safety in mind warns expert

The crazed desire to capture virtual creatures may be consuming the whole country, but the AA has urged Irish players to be mindful of their safety while playing smash hit Pokemon GO.

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The augmented reality game, which encourages players to venture outside on a quest to find Pokemon, has already been responsible for several serious accidents in the US, with both pedestrians and drivers at fault.

An AA spokesperson urged people to concentrate when crossing the road while playing the game as not doing so could result in serious injury.

“We certainly can’t stop the march of technology, but this phenomenon can pose real risks to the safety of pedestrians and other road users. App users are traipsing across busy roads with their eyes glued to their screen, caught up in the action and are oblivious to oncoming traffic.

A 28-year-old man crashed his car in Los Angeles while playing Pokemon GO! Photo Credit: Auburn Police Station
A 28-year-old man crashed his car in Los Angeles while playing Pokemon GO! Photo Credit: Auburn Police Station

“When we’re out and about our brains have much to take in anyway, and being on our phone means we can’t always concentrate on so many things at once. This is when we walk into traffic; we don’t hear the truck or the car horn because we’re cocooned from the outside world.

“Our advice is to use common sense, don’t throw caution to the wind and pelt across a busy road because by doing so you’re endangering your life and the lives’ of others.”

The all-consuming nature of the app has been attributed to several traffic accidents across the water. In Los Angeles, a 28-year-old man totalled his car while playing the game after he crashed into a tree trying to capture a Pokemon.

The AA spokesperson reminded Irish players that playing the virtual game while driving not only is a major risk to safety, but it is also illegal and could result in penalty points, court appearances and a hefty fine.

“As for driving whilst using the app, it is seriously worrying to think that people are still taking risks despite the fact that everyone with an ounce of sense knows the dangers. Is catching Bulbasaur worth a potential court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000?”

Pokemon GO has already beaten global records and rocketed to the top of Apple and Android app stores in record time following its release in three countries earlier this month.

The app had 65 million downloads in the US, just seven days after its launch and shares in Nintendo have jumped by as much as 9.5pc in early trade this morning.

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