Pokémon GO Related Car Crashes

Posted July 27th, 2016 by Ashley Kane

The augmented-reality app Pokémon GO was released in early July 2016 and has since been all the rage. However, catching Pokémon has not been all fun and games. Drivers are using the app behind the wheel and car crashes are occurring. Take these collisions as a reminder to just drive on the roads. No life—and no injury—is worth a Pikachu. Traffic deaths in 2016 are up 9% over last year's numbers, and many are blaming the upsurge on drivers who are distracted by apps. While some drivers may believe that they are capable of multitasking, the reality is that no one can safely multitask and drive

While not every Pokémon GO accident is listed below—one study found that there were 110,000 Pokémon-GO-related accidents in the United States alone over a 10-day period—this is a sample of the growing distracted driving epidemic.

Note: In November 2016, Niantic updated Pokémon Go so that nearly all of the game's features cannot be played at high speeds. This was a smart move as other companies are pushed to do the same. Apple was recently sued for the company's lack of a lockout feature behind the wheel for FaceTime

Pokémon GO Car Accidents:

  • December 18, 2016 

A man crashed into two pedestrians while playing Pokémon GO on his phone in Florida. The distracted driver veered off the road and struck two pedestrians walking along the sidewalk. He then fled the scene. Both pedestrians sustained serious injuries and were transported to the hospital. 

  • October 26, 2016

A 9-year-old elementary school student in Japan was struck and killed at a pedestrian crossing by a driver who was not watching the road carefully. The driver said he was playing Pokémon GO. (The Japan Times)

  • October 14, 2016

A 14-year-old boy was struck and killed by an intoxicated motorcyclist. The boy was playing Pokémon GO and stepped into the road to catch one. As he made his way back to the sidewalk, the motorcyclist struck him, inflicting fatal injuries. (The Detroit News)

  • August 30, 2016

A Rhode Island woman drove her car off the road and crashed in the woods while catching Pokémon as she drove. She was also speeding. (Fox 25 Boston

  • August 27, 2016

A 42-year-old man crashed his SUV into a parked police car in New Jersey while playing Pokémon GO behind the wheel. Fortunately, there were no injuries and the police car was unoccupied. (NJ)

  • August 25, 2016

A man crashed his car into a pole on Wichita State University's campus in Kansas while playing Pokémon GO, and received minor injuries. (KAKE)

  • August 23, 2016

A man was driving while playing Pokémon GO in Japan when he crashed into two women. One suffered a broken hip, and the other died from a broken neck. (Wall Street Journal)

  • August 5, 2016

A man was driving drunk and playing Pokémon GO when he crashed into three cars and hit a 16-year-old girl in Virginia. (The Virginian-Pilot)

  • August 1, 2016

Emily Paige Sanders, 17, was driving while playing Pokémon GO when she struck a parked car, causing her own to overturn. Alcohol may have been involved. (NewsOK)

  • July 31, 2016

Tanami Nayler, 22, was out playing Pokémon GO when she became a victim of a hit-and-run crash as she crossed the street at a pedestrian crosswalk with a friend in Melbourne, Australia. The driver was operating a stolen vehicle and Nayler died at the scene. (News)

  • July 28, 2016

A 19-year-old man crashed his car into a school when he overshot a roundabout in Melbourne, Australia while catching Pokémon. His car went through a fence and hit a classroom. Fortunately, there were no injuries. (The Age)

  • July 24, 2016

Twenty-one-year-old Nicholas Coccia was driving drunk and playing Pokémon GO when he crashed his car in Rutland, Vermont. He told police he was “hunting Pokémon”. (NECN)

  • July 19, 2016

A distracted driver was actively playing Pokémon GO when he crashed his car into a tree in Auburn, New York. He suffered minor injuries while his vehicle was completely totaled. (The Citizen)

  • July 18, 2016

A 28-year-old man rear-ended a Chevrolet Sedan carrying a mother and young son. The Chevy was waiting to make a left turn when it was struck in Fall City, Washington. The driver told authorities he was distracted playing Pokémon GO. (KGW)

  • pokemon go car accident july 2017July 18, 2016

Three police officers were standing outside a police cruiser when an approaching SUV swerved and sideswiped the car. The driver of the SUV stopped further down the block and showed the officers the Pokémon GO app on his phone. “That’s what I get for playing that dumb game,” he said. No injuries were reported. (ABC News)

  • July 18, 2016

A pregnant 18-year-old woman was playing Pokémon GO when she was hit by a car in Missouri. She said she was walking alongside the road with a group when she was intentionally struck by an angry driver. The woman and baby are fine after an emergency C-section. (KTLA)

  • July 18, 2016

According to witnesses, a 14-year-old boy was playing Pokémon GO when he was hit by a truck in Minnesota. The boy was riding his bicycle as he played the game before the truck collided with him. He was then life flighted to the hospital. (WDAZ)

  • July 16, 2016

A 25-year-old man of Madison, Wisconsin missed a curve and hit a pole. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and admitted to playing Pokémon GO behind the wheel. (WKOW)

  • July 16, 2016

A 26-year-old man was driving in Wisconsin while playing Pokémon GO when he hit a tree. His car caught fire and he managed to escape with minor injuries. He was also cited for driving drunk and for driving without any insurance. (Twin Cities)

  • July 12, 2016

A 15-year-old girl was hit by a car while crossing the street in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. She walked across a busy highway during rush hour while playing Pokémon GO, and was struck. She received collarbone and foot injuries, as well as several cuts and bruises. (WPXI)

  • July 12, 2016

A driver and passenger were playing Pokémon GO when their car hit a police cruiser after reversing suddenly in a library parking lot in Quebec City, Canada. The police were planning to pull the driver over for failing to signal a turn when the cruiser was hit. (CBC)

Photo credits: Pokémon GOEpson291