Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Japanese cops are handing out hundreds of traffic tickets to ‘Pokémon Go’ players

niantic support buddy pokemon and wearable go driving
The creatures at the heart of the most successful mobile game ever were born in Japan, so it’s no surprise gamers there wasted little time in signing up to the craze that is Pokémon Go.

Trouble is, some of the game’s fans clearly can’t resist looking out for new Pokémon while driving along, a situation that’s resulted in cops handing out hundreds of traffic tickets in the two weeks since the game launched there.

The Japanese authorities said this week that more than 700 traffic offenses have so far been committed in connection with the hugely popular smartphone game in which players travel the real world in the hunt for digital pocket monsters.

Between Pokémon Go‘s July 22 launch and Tuesday this week, the police have ticketed a total of 727 individuals caught playing the game while operating a vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle, according to Tokyo Reporter (via Sankei Shimbun).

Fifteen accidents were reportedly caused by players distracted by the game while operating a vehicle, though details of the incidents weren’t given. In around 20 cases, property damage was caused by cyclists playing Pokémon Go while riding along, the report said.

Of course, it’s not only in Japan where things have been going awry for those obsessed with the game. Just last week, an Australian driver in Melbourne hit the headlines when he crashed his car into a school while playing the augmented-reality game. Before that, a Baltimore man admitted he’d been playing it when he drove into, of all things, a cop car.

Ridesharing giant Uber is also well aware of the game’s potential to distract road users, prompting the company to warn its fleet of drivers to keep an eye out for other drivers playing the game, as well as Pokémon Go pedestrians ambling distractedly into the road.

A recent update to Pokémon Go has apparently made it more difficult to play effectively while driving. It involves a reduction in the game’s scan refresh rate, as well as a further limit in the scan radius. The changes should mean that someone moving at speed, such as a car driver, will find it harder to spot nearby Pokémon Go gameplay opportunities. Those continuing to play the game at an altogether more leisurely pace – i.e. on foot – are unlikely to notice anything different.

Download for iOS Download for Android

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Pokémon Go gets a special New Pokémon Snap event featuring a shiny Smeargle
Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go is getting a special event to celebrate the release of New Pokémon Snap. Players will be able to grab some photography-themed goodies and have a chance to catch a shiny Smeargle.

New Pokémon Snap, a sequel to a 1999 Nintendo 64 photography game, comes to Nintendo Switch at the end of the month. Pokémon Go's special event lines up with the game's release window. It'll begin one day before the Switch game launches on Thursday, April 29, and end on Sunday, May 2.

Read more
How to catch Ditto in Pokémon Go
ditto: pokemon go

Pokémon Go has had players venturing all over the real world in search of their favorite Pokémon. Now including Gen 6 Pokémon, Pokémon Go still has one very elusive little fellah that players are clamoring to get their hands on -- Ditto. Because of Ditto’s shapeshifting nature, it can show up in a range of different Pokémon.

Unlike the main series, there’s no way to know if a Pokémon is normal or a Ditto disguise until you catch it; you just have to hope for the best. That said, knowing which Pokémon Ditto can take the form makes the quest to catch one that much easier. As it is one of the most unique Pokémon in existence, Ditto will be a significant addition to your collection. Whether you plan to use Ditto in battle or just show it off, here's how you can find your very own in Pokémon Go.

Read more
Pokémon: Let’s Go beginner’s guide
pokemon lets go beginners guide let s

Choosing between Eevee and Pikachu can be hard, but deciding to play Pokémon: Let's Go is easy. The game brings you back to Kanto, where the first three Pokémon games began. The setting will be familiar to anyone who played Pokémon Yellow, and the catching sequence will be familiar to fans of Pokémon GO.

Pokémon: Let's Go brings together the mainline game and the mobile, creating its own identity somewhere in the middle. The game wants you to pay attention by providing an adorable setting for different catch sequences, leveling up animations, and in general making your way around Kanto. For trainers just starting their adventure, we have a few tips and tricks to help you become the Pokémon League Champion.

Read more