Gotta Catch ‘Em All

After a rash of crashes in Louisiana and elsewhere, officials are warning drivers not to play Pokémon Go while they are behind the wheel.

The game has been available on smartphones for less than a month and has already been downloaded millions of times in the United States alone. In the virtual reality-type game, players must physically run, walk, stop, and move in order to meet certain objectives. One Louisiana tow company said it pulled three cars out of ditches in one day, and all three vehicle owners were playing while driving. “She was pursuing a Pokémon character and, you know, missed her turn,” commented Walker Police Captain John Sharp, when speaking about one such incident. “You shouldn’t be doing this while you’re driving,” he added.

Walker police are also concerned about pedestrians who play Pokémon Go and are distracted.

Distracted Driving

In 2014, at least 431,000 people were injured in distracted driving-related crashes. There are three types of distracted driving:

  • Visual (taking your eyes off the road),
  • Manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel), and
  • Cognitive (taking your mind off the road).

Cell phones get much of the attention because they combine all three forms of distracted driving. Hands-free devices, which are generally legal in Louisiana, are not much safer, because even though drivers keep their hands on the wheel, they probably take their eyes off the road and definitely think about something other than driving.

Louisiana has a rather narrow cell phone law that only makes it illegal to “write, send, or read a text-based communication” or “access, read, or post to a social networking site.” So, in the Bayou State, it is not technically illegal for most people to play Pokémon Go while they drive. Therefore, the negligence per se shortcut may not be available in all distracted driving cases.

Damages in a distracted driving or other negligence case typically include compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills and property loss, as well as noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress and loss of enjoyment in life. Punitive damages may also be available, in some cases.

Distracted drivers cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an assertive personal injury attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.