Pokemon Go: Virtual Reality Game's Recent Real Life Accidents

As many people know, in today's tech-savvy world, keeping a cell phone in your car is dangerous, and it is even more dangerous to text or use an app on your smartphone while driving. Many apps require a person's attention on their phone screen for more than just a quick glance, which is more than enough time to cause a car collision. This time last year, the Pokémon Go app was just beginning to take users by storm, with people everywhere constantly discussing the game and traveling around town to "catch" the Pokémon. The game projects characters on the screen amid the player's actual surroundings, combining the virtual with reality. One year later, the game continues to develop new features and bring people together, with some even attending in-person live events to play the game. The popularity of the app has created yet another form of distracted driving, and has led to several motor vehicle accidents in Michigan and around the country.

Pokemon Go Car Crash Lawyer

In one example, a man crashed into a cop car in Baltimore, Maryland while playing Pokémon Go, last July. USA TODAY reported that the Pokémon Go enthusiast slammed into a parked Baltimore police car while playing the game on his phone. In body-camera video released by the Baltimore Police Department, several officers are seen standing near the police car as a Toyota Rav 4 slams into the police cruiser and continues driving. In the video, an officer runs after the vehicle, which stops near the end of the block, and the driver gets out of his car. The officer asks if everyone is ok, and the driver, whose face is blurred in the clip, shows the police officers his cellphone. “That’s what I get for playing this dumb--- game,” the man says to the officers. A spokesperson for the police department mentioned that the incident wasn't even the first one that week!

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last summer, CBS News said that teen Autumn Deiseroth was hit by a car in an incident related to Pokémon Go. Deiseroth saud she did everything right while playing the game near her home, including looking both ways before crossing streets, but she was hit by a car anyway, after the game lured her across a busy highway. "She was not walking and playing the game," her mother, Tracy Nolan, told a CBS affiliate. "She was coming home to tell her mother she found Pokémon. I'm blaming the game itself because it's dragging kids across major highways. Kids don't need to be going across highways."

Michigan Phone Car Accident Lawyer

Here in Michigan, Pokémon Go is being blamed for a suspected drunk driver crashing into a parked car in Commerce Township, while his eyes were glued to his smartphone. According to the Detroit Free Press, a 28-year-old Walled Lake man fled in his wrecked car but was arrested after deputies followed a trail of vehicle debris from the crash to the suspect's home. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that deputies determined that the man had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and transported him to Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital for a blood draw via a search warrant. He was also treated for injuries sustained in the crash. The suspect told police he had been in the area searching for Pokémon on his phone, while driving, when he struck the parked vehicle. The driver was arrested following his treatment and was lodged in the Oakland County Jail pending charges.

Pokémon Go has even gone so far as to lead to fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes. On October 14, 2016, 24-year-old Cody Soucie of Roseville, Michigan hit Ryan Mannes, 14, with his motorcycle while Mannes played Pokémon Go with two of his friends. Soucie had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.14, which is almost twice the legal limit. Mannes had walked into the street to catch a Pokémon, as described in the Detroit Free Press, and was hit by Soucie upon returning to the sidewalk. Mannes was pronounced dead at the scene with catastrophic injuries. Soucie was charged with a felony crime that could lead to, up to 15 years in jail. 

Distracted walking, including looking down at cell phones, is an alarming new trend that poses a significant safety threat, in the form of inattentional blindness, to pedestrians and motorists alike. The National Safety Council emphasizes that pedestrians and drivers using cell phones are both impaired and too mentally distracted to fully focus on their surroundings. Of course, no one plans to be hit by a car while playing Pokémon Go. However, what is unknown to many people is that unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Apps like Pokémon Go and virtual reality games are fun to play and are experiencing a surge in popularity, but users are advised to always be safe while playing, and to definitely never use them while driving, so as to help prevent a severe injury or car crash fatality. 

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer

Additionally, there are several ways to avoid distracted driving accidents and drunk driving car crashes. Apps have recently been developed that actually work to minimize phone usage while in a vehicle. Car sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available to take people home so that people under the influence don't have to risk their life or the lives of those on the road by driving while intoxicated. Drunk driving and distracted driving are never okay, even if the goal is just to catch Pokémon. As games for smartphones multiply, safety and awareness must also increase, in order to avoid fatal car crashes.

Pokémon Go was created to bring the game to life and to get people to be more active and spent more time outdoors. While these are admirable goals from Niantic, the creater of Pokemon Go, it is important to be safe and vigilant while playing the game, and to never play while driving, as Niantic themselves warn. It is also important to be aware of one's surroundings at all times, because you never know when a vehicle headed your way, if your head is down and absorbed in a game. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted or drunk driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Playing Pokemon Go While Driving May Cause Accidents

Pokemon Go Car Crash Lawyer

Pokémon Go has come under fire recently due to several accidents that have been caused by people who are playing the game. For those who don’t know, Pokémon Go is a location based augmented reality game for mobile devices. The game, which is available on both Android and iOS devices, works by using the GPS in a user’s phone to determine that user’s location. Based on the user’s location, the game then causes Pokémon appear around the player's character which the player can try to catch. In the past, people who played other Pokémon games were able to catch Pokémon only within the game, on the devices screen, but Pokémon Go lets users try to “catch ‘em all” in real life, which has been appealing to millions of users.

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For those who don’t know what Pokémon is, it started off originally as a video game for the Game Boy device. The name Pokémon is believed to translate roughly to Pocket Monsters. Basically, Pokémon are virtual creatures that the player, or "Pokémon Trainer" attempts to catch by throwing a "pokeball" at it. Once caught, the Pokémon then belongs to the Trainer who caught it.

The reason Trainers want to catch Pokémon is so that they can train them to become more powerful, with the intent of battling other Trainers. Originally, there were two main goals or premises of the game. One was to travel around the virtual Pokémon world to defeat all eight Gym Leaders, who were very skilled Trainers. After defeating the Gym Leaders, Trainers would face off against the four best Pokémon Trainers in the game, known as the Elite Four. Once the Elite Four were defeated, there were no real goals left to achieve, except to complete the Pokédex, by catching one of every single Pokémon in the game.This was the second main goal of the game. 

Pokémon Go takes the same basic premise as the original video games, except it allows players to feel like they are actually catching these Pokémon in real life, because they only appear based on the player's location and surroundings. The application also allows players to take pictures to show the Pokémon actually appearing in their surroundings. 

Pokemon Go Car Accident Lawyer

While this game has been enjoyed by millions of people since it's release, it has also been causing dangerous car accidents. Since Pokémon only appear the GPS location is moving in real life, and certain Pokémon only appear in certain locations, some users are playing Pokémon Go while driving. This dangerous distracted driving has led to many accidents due to users not paying attention to the road. These accidents have ranged from single-car accidents, to multiple-car accidents, to pedestrian acciddents, and have caused a lot of people to be upset with Niantic, the company that created Pokémon Go.

In response to the complaints, Niantic has tried to put out measures in to prevent users playing Pokémon Go while driving, such as displaying an alert message whenever a user opens the app, which says “Do not play Pokémon Go while driving.” More recently, Niantic also has created a pop up message which appears when the application believes a player is going to fast, and which blocks the user from playing unless they agree that they are a passenger in the vehicle.

In addition to the safety reasons for not playing Pokémon Go while driving, Click On Detroit reports that drivers playing Pokémon Go could also face jail time and fines if caught catching and driving. Michigan has laws against reckless driving. Motorists are likely to be pulled over by law enforcement if they are a threat to themselves or others on the road.

Using Pokémon while driving is very dangerous and may result in motor vehicle collisions. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm. Whether you were hit by a driver playing Pokemon Go or any type of distracted driver, our attorneys can help you. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Pokemon Go Causing Havoc for Drivers & Pedestrians?

In case you haven’t heard, or haven’t “caught them all,” Pokemon Go has swept the nation. The immensely popular augmented-reality game played on a smartphone app and available on iOS and Android has captivated the attention of casual and dedicated young and old, but unfortunately there have been reports of dangerous side effects. 

Distracted Driving Lawyer

The free game, which was launched on July 6, 2016 has already surpassed “Candy Crush Saga” as the biggest mobile game in United States history with millions of active daily users. Pokemon Go has separated itself from other video games because it encourages players to get outside and walk in an effort to find virtual characters based on a GPS-powered map that reflects the real world location in which players are standing. 

While you will see players venturing around the neighborhood park or downtown streets by foot, players are also driving to different locations which is causing major problems. On July 12, 2016 an illegally parked car on Texas A&M University’s campus was struck from behind after the driver had parked and exited the car to catch a Pokemon sustaining injuries in the process.

The following day in Auburn, New York, 28-year-old Steven Cary crashed his car into a tree while playing Pokemon Go.  The distracted driver suffered minor injuries but the vehicle sustained major damage due to the crash.

“a fun game can have tragic real-world consequences”

Incidents such as these have forced authorities to create new policies and guidelines for players. Due to a large amount of photos being taken of Pokemon characters from behind the wheel, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has been issuing public safety warnings. DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan reminded the public that “a fun game can have tragic real-world consequences,” and asked New Yorkers to “put their phones down instead of playing the popular Pokemon Go game while behind the wheel or walking near or across roadways.” According to The Daily Beast, local police departments are regularly posting reminders about the dangers of Pokemon Go, “Don’t catch and drive” messages have been posted on many public safety Facebook and Twitter feeds, and even highway emergency notices have read “Don’t Pokemon and Drive.”

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Unfortunately, it’s not just car accidents that have public safety officials concerned. Last Wednesday, firefighters were called to rescue two men in North San Diego County, California who had walked off a cliff while playing the game, causing injuries. The two men were not playing the game together, but had the same result. Firefighters only found the second man, who was unconscious a few feet below. 

Catching Pokemon...and Staying Safe

The Frankenmuth (Michigan) Police Department released a full statement urging parents to talk with their children about the dangers of playing the game, and reminded drivers that it’s never a good idea to drive and play at the same time. They have also provided the public with safety tips for “catching them all”:

Pedestrian Crash Lawyer
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Look up and be aware of who is around you besides Pokemon. 
  • Parents limit places kids can go. Set boundaries and timelines to avoid danger areas where children will venture unattended and require to routinely check in using their cell phone. 
  • Don’t “Pokemon Go” and drive: Catching Pikachu isn’t worth crashing. 
  • Tell people where you’re going and play in a group and stay with them. 
  • Don’t trespass it is not just disrespectful...it can be dangerous. People might call the police if you enter private property and your Pokemon can’t help you. 
  • If you are stopped by police: show them you are playing a game since more than likely they are responding to a suspicious person call which has been called into 911 by a citizen. 

Distracted driving is a big problem in the United States without Pokemon Go, but the game according to some, has added cause for drivers to be extra caution while out on the road. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident because the driver was distracted playing Pokemon Go or any other reason, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Speak to an experienced lawyer who will fight for you to get the appropriate aid needed, including wage loss recovery, medical transportation, and in many cases, pain and suffering compensation. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.