Drinking + Driving + Pokémon Go = You Guessed It!

pokemon-go-duiIt had to happen. Pokémon Go has generated a lot of news items, many of them concerning players’ disregard of their own safety while plying the streets searching for cute monsters to capture. We expected stories of people bumping into things and falling down, and we got them.

We expected stories of people crashing cars while playing, and they appeared.

Now comes the story we dreaded – a man in Vermont who combined driving and Pokémon Go with drinking. It did not end well. Nicholas Coccia of Rutland admitted to have been “hunting Pokémon” with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .2, or 2.5 times the legal limit for intoxication when he crashed his car. He was distracted by the game on his phone.

It’s hard to imagine a deadlier combination: alcohol, driving and the distraction of an augmented reality game on a cellphone. Even typing a simple text is incredibly dangerous while driving – it’s equivalent to driving with a BAC of .19.

Let’s call Pokémon Go a little more involving than texting – say, equivalent to .2 BAC. So what is playing Pokémon Go with a .2 BAC? The equivalent of a .4 blood alcohol reading?

For the record, a BAC of .4 is lethal – usually it results in coma or respiratory failure. We’re not saying that Pokémon drunk driving will cause your breathing to stop – though we can see how it might – or even that it really makes your driving as bad as a BAC of .4 would. But it clearly makes any kind of safe driving impossible.

The difference between alcohol and Pokémon Go is that the former will affect anyone’s judgment – for example, it might give someone the idea that it’s okay to try to bag Charmander while driving on East Pittsford Road at 8 a.m. one Sunday morning. Conversely, it’s not likely that Pokémon Go on its own will lead to a DUI.

But please: if you are drinking  – or hunting Pokémon – don’t drive.