Summer days are busy, busy, what with driving the car and walking to programs for kids and adults offered by neighboring businesses and organizations. Seemingly new to the walking action: Groups of people, walking together, all tuned in to their phones. At first glance, one thinks it's millennials connecting with their friends via Instagram or Snapchat and checking to see what is going on at nearby establishments. But no, most likely all of the group texters are actually hunting for virtual Pokémons around town. They show up on the phone screens as part of Nintendo's Pokémon GO app, launched by Nintendo in July. It's captured the attention of the Hudson Valley and the world. No, seriously. McDonald's is set to be a sponsored location in Japan, but Nintendo delayed the launch until the end of July to iron out tech and glitch issues with so much traffic.
But reports of safety concerns are coming in as gamers are walking into traffic or into one another. Texting while driving has always been a problem, and people apparently still need reminders at all times to not text in the car. (Does dialing or searching for a contact in the phone count? Or looking at the map?) The safety experts at locally owned Antalek & Moore Insurance Agency have been on it, and launched a Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign last year. Says partner Susan Pagones, and a mother of an avid Pokémon GO player:
"With the Pokémon game taking storm, please be sure to take caution. Never drive a car while playing this game, and take notice of pedestrians who are distracted while playing. While walking down the street, they may become unaware of intersections, etc., so be cautious of their inattentiveness. If you feel the need to get in on the action of finding Pokémon, be sure you are not driving. Pull over if you need to play. As your local insurance agent and a mother of a game player, we all enjoy the latest and greatest game challenge, but do so responsibly."
Rumor has it that someone has already completed the game. Meanwhile, let's watch Susan's daughter school fellow Antalek & Moore partner, Pat Moore, in Antalek & Moore's distracted driving campaign video: