Although the popular smartphone game is not yet available in Canada, the Pokémon Go craze has reached Windsor streets where people can be seen wandering parks and driving through the city with their eyes glued to their smartphones.
The location-based augmented reality game was released in the U.S. on July 6 and has already surpassed Twitter in number of daily users. The cellphone game, which many Windsor residents have found ways to access, sends players into the real world to hunt for characters known as Pokémon, who appear on users’ screens at various locations.
With users solely focused on their cellphones in their attempts to catch all of the game’s characters, gamers are taking distracted driving to new levels.
CBC News spoke with several gamers who stated they have traveled Windsor’s streets by walking, biking and even driving while playing the game. That distraction can lead to injuries for users and passersby.
Two police officers in Quebec City suffered minor injuries after a car they observed driving strangely, reversed into their vehicle in a parking lot. The driver told the officers he was playing Pokémon Go at the time of the accident.
Police across Canada are urging gamers to use caution and common sense when playing the game. They are warning gamers to remain aware of their surroundings to make sure they are not walking into traffic or driving while playing.
Distracted driving laws apply to anyone who appears to be distracted while behind the wheel, which includes playing Pokémon Go. Drivers caught driving while distracted could face a $490 fine and three demerit points.
Ontario Provincial Police posted a video to Twitter urging gamers to put safety first when using the cellphone game.
If you or someone you love was injured because of an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our Windsor car accident lawyers to learn more about your legal options.