Next time you play Pokémon Go while you are driving in Saudi Arabia, it might cost you $80 (SAR300).
Today, the Saudi traffic department issued a statement warning motorists against playing the popular augmented reality game while driving due to the dangers it might inflict on pedestrians and other motorists.
Major General Abdullah Al-Zahrani, the Traffic Department director general for the Eastern Province, told Saudi Gazette: “Playing Pokemon will distract the driver who may hurt himself, other motorists and pedestrians.”
According to the official, no such case has arisen so far. However, the expected tickets will be issued soon.
Moreover, other Saudi security agencies have been given permission to issue such tickets for the offence.
This is not the first step that Saudi authorities have taken against the game. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body renewed an old fatwa prohibiting playing Pokémon Go claiming it is a form of gambling.
Since Nintendo rolled out Pokémon Go two weeks ago, several traffic accidents have been reportedly caused by distracted players.
Saudi Arabia was not the only Gulf state warning against the game. Last week, both Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates issued statements saying that the game poses a threat to national security and might expose military and confidential locations.
This week, both Qatar and Oman echoed the other Gulf states where they advised their residents against playing the game as it compromises safety, threatens user privacy and eats up data allowances quickly.
Additionally, playing the game might put its players in danger as it requests access to their geographical location.
The augmented reality app, developed by Niantic, encourages users to find Pokemon in real world locations using their smartphone’s camera and a GPS-guided map. Users are encouraged to visit local landmarks dubbed ‘Pokéstops’ to collect items.