Wednesday, 20 July 2016 23:12

Gotta Crash 'Em All, Pokémon!

Chances are, you have heard of the new Pokémon Go phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.

Pokémon Go is a game played on a smartphone that encourages people to walk around to collect 151 Pokémon and is based off the card game and hand-held Nintendo games of the 90's.

While a seemingly harmless game of augmented reality, Pokémon Go is turning into anything but. Indeed, the app--one of the most popular smartphone games of all time--is causing numerous car crashes and injuring innocent victims throughout the state and country.

Here are a few times the game has actually contributed to real world accidents:

  • A man was driving while playing the game when he got distracted, drove off the road, and slammed into a tree. He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
  • A 15-year-old girl was hit by a car as she was walked onto a busy highway while paying attention to her phone instead of oncoming traffic. The girl suffered an injured collarbone and foot as well some bruising.
  • A man stopped his car in the middle of the highway, causing a multi-car pile up, in an effort to catch Pikachu, one of the tiny fictional monsters.
  • Police body-camera records a man crashing into the back of a police car while playing the game. No officers were inside the vehicle at the time of the crash. No one was injured.

These are just a few examples of the accidents caused by drivers distracted by Pokémon Go. If you or a loved one were injured by a driver or pedestrian who was playing the game, contact an experienced injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.


What is Pokémon Go?

As noted above, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game one can play on their smartphone. To quote pokemon.com, after downloading the application:

“Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon. Explore cities and towns around where you live and even around the globe to capture as many Pokémon as you can. As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you’re near a Pokémon. Once you’ve encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone’s touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away! Also look for PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments, where you can collect more Poké Balls and other items.”

Unfortunately, the game does not take into consideration private property, busy highways, etc. and is putting many innocent individuals at risk when inattentive gamers attempt to drive and play the game.


Pokémon Go and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving includes “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.” These types of distractions can include:

Using a cell phone or smartphone
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Watching a video
Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

And now it seems that we can add “playing Pokémon Go” to this list.


We would like to thank Barry Goldberg for reprint permission.

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