It’s probably safe to say that the Washington State Patrol would like to “catch ’em all” when it comes to dangerous drivers on roadways. One trooper managed to make that popular “Pokémon” phrase part of his work this week.
According to a Wednesday morning tweet from Trooper Rick Johnson, a WSP public information officer, a driver was “contacted” by a trooper Tuesday evening after his vehicle was spotted on a road shoulder. Sgt. Kyle Smith found the driver playing the popular mobile video game “Pokemon Go” on EIGHT separate smartphones.
A photo shared by Johnson showed the phones on the passenger seat of the vehicle, neatly contained in a makeshift foam holder. Every phone was lit up with the gaming app. The driver was instructed to put the phones in the back seat and was allowed to continue on his commute.
#PokemonDistraction Sergeant Kyle Smith contacted a vehicle on the shoulder yesterday evening. This is what was next to the driver! Playing #PokemonGO with EIGHT (8) phones! Driver agreed to put phones in back seat and continued his commute with 8 less distractions. pic.twitter.com/tgOr16CRlm
— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) August 14, 2019
Distracted driving is a no go in Washington state, where the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act was passed in 2017. Motorists can be hit with hefty fines for using a cell phone behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
The “Pokémon Go” website lists safety tips to keep players out of trouble in their quest to track down animated creatures.
“To make sure you and those around you are safe, do not play ‘Pokémon Go’ while riding a bike, driving a vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or doing anything else that requires your full attention,” the site says.
Niantic found huge success with the launch of “Pokémon Go” in the summer of 2016. About a third of the company’s employees are based in a rapidly growing engineering office in Bellevue, Wash. Niantic, which spun out of Google in 2015, raised a huge $245 million funding round in January.