Since its release on July 6th, Pokémon Go has been a party to many injuries, several car accidents and even muggings. So far, injuries sustained have not been fatal. Many players have reported via social media injuries ranging from severe sunburns to twisted ankles from tripping or falling into ditches.
Pokémon Go is a new app inspired by a video game originally released in 1995 which was played on Gameboys. Soon after its creation, the Pokémon franchise expanded to the creation of a cartoon, along with playing cards and toys. The object of Pokémon Go is literally to “catch ‘em all!” Players walk around using the app, which in turn uses the camera app. As you walk around, the app tells you where you might find Pokémon, which are then viewable through the app. You then “throw” a pokéball at them to capture them.
Aside from injuries, there have also been muggings associated with the game. In Missouri, a group of teenagers were arrested for robbing several Pokémon Go players by using the app against them to lure them to areas where they could easily be overtaken and robbed. The teenagers were able to lure players by setting up pokéstops to “attract Pokémon” and in so doing were able to attract unsuspecting Pokémon Go players.
The US isn’t the only country with mounting concerns regarding injuries and crimes caused by players distractedly tripping and running into things. Police in the UK have been warning players to watch their surroundings, as having their faces buried in their phones make them easy targets for criminals, as well as prone to accidents such as walking into oncoming traffic.
While the Pokémon Go app does include a cautionary note asking players to be aware of their surroundings, it seems that many players are so excited and focused on the game, they fail to heed the warning. On July 12, Steven Cary suffered a broken ankle and cuts when, while playing Pokémon Go, he drove his car into a tree. A few days later, a driver struck an unoccupied Baltimore police cruiser.
April of this year was Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its National Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign: “U Drive, U Text, U Pay”. The campaign helped to train and make law enforcement aware of the dangers of distracted driving and ways to spot drivers who were texting.
Statistics from NHTSA’s newest Distracted Driving Traffic Safety Facts and Teen Distracted Driver fact sheet include:
- Ten percent of all fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes identified the driver as having been distracted at the time of the collision.
- Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash.
- 244 Americans aged 15 to 19 were killed in distraction-affected crashes.
It’s too early to know whether Pokémon Go has or will increase these numbers, but it certainly hasn’t helped to reduce the likelihood of crashes or injuries due to distracted driving.
Pokémon Go isn’t the first app or game to come under fire. Earlier this year, Snapchat came under fire for a filter which inadvertently encouraged young drivers to track their speed. Many young drivers would see how fast they could drive, with some attempting to reach speeds well over 100 mph.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by the Pokémon Go game or a distracted driver, you may be able to recover compensation. Please call the experienced attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. today at 617-225-2100 for a FREE evaluation of your case.