Injuries Caused by Pokémon Go
It has been nearly two months since the release of “Pokémon Go” and criticisms of the game continue to mount amid reports that an elderly woman in Japan was struck and killed by a distracted driver. Collisions and injuries due to Pokémon go are not isolated events and a quick google search will turn up numerous accidents across the United States. Organizations from the American Automobile Association (AAA) to police departments nationwide have issued statements, warning the public about the potential dangers of this new game. However, with an estimated tens-of-millions of active players, it is likely that more accidents may occur.
What Makes Pokémon Go Dangerous?
Smartphone games are nothing new which leaves many people asking the question, “What makes Pokémon Go so dangerous?” The short answer is the game can completely envelop a person’s attention. When players use the game in situations where their full attention is required, like when driving, accidents can occur. However, to understand exactly why so many injuries have resulted from gameplay, it is helpful to take a look at how the game works.
There are two main elements which separate Pokémon Go from traditional smartphone games. First, in order to control and move the in-game avatar, players must physically move throughout the real world. The game uses a smartphone’s GPS synched with google maps data to track a player’s location. For example, when a player crosses the street in real life, they also do so in the game. Secondly, the game is among the first to popularize “augmented reality” as a core function of gameplay. This feature, using a phone’s camera, transposes elements of gameplay onto a user’s environment and surroundings.
The more a player moves, the more they are rewarded. When this game is played as intended, while walking, there is minimal risk to the user. It is when players attempt to shortcut the games reward system and play while driving, that serious problems occur. To combat this issue, the game’s developer, Niantic, has begun to implement numerous safeguards and warnings to users. Upon each opening of the game, players must accept a full-screen request acknowledging that they will not play while driving. Additionally, if the GPS detects that a player is traveling too quickly, several features of the game will stop working.
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With the ever increasing publicity and safety precautions surrounding Pokémon go, drivers who make the decision to play do so negligently and put the security of others at risk. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries due to the actions of a distracted driver, contact Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci and tell us what happened. Our Joplin personal injury attorneys possess more than a century of combined experience and can help you to maximize your potential compensation.
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