Mobile games are a fun way to kill time, but interactive pedestrian games like Pokémon GO can place you and others at great risk. Click here to learn why.

Injury Risks of Playing Pokémon GO or Any Other Mobile Game Near Traffic

Woman crossing a street looking at her phoneJuly 6, 2016, marked a major change in pedestrian behavior. Within five days of the release of the iOS, Apple, and Android application, Pokémon GO, over 20 million people took to the streets searching for the little pocket monsters. Since then, over 75 million more people across the globe have downloaded the interactive game and play it on a daily basis.

So, what’s the big deal? Why is this a problem?

The problem isn’t with Pokémon GO per se; the problem is that the obsession with playing these types of games is a potentially dangerous distraction for the player.

Pedestrian Distractions and Collisions

When pedestrians ignore the world around them because they’re more interested in the world of whatever game they’re playing, they place themselves and others in danger. Playing a game on your lunch break or while safely sitting on your couch is perfectly fine, but when that game goes from a time-killer to a dangerous walking-distraction, it may cause the death of more than a few moments.

Games like Pokémon GO specifically require players to walk around to find rewards and catch critters, some of which appear in the middle of the street. As a result of this interactive encouragement from the game, since its release, Pokémon GO has been reported to have instigated several pedestrian accidents, including:

  • A Pittsburgh-area teen, Autumn Deiseroth, was hit by a car while playing the game and crossing a busy highway. She says the game lured her across the road. She was reportedly hospitalized with an injured collarbone and foot, as well as cuts and bruises.
  • Seventy-nine pedestrian-traffic accidents in Japan from July-September
  • An intersection mob in Thailand

These accidents show that not only are people becoming distracted while walking around traffic, the game encourages them to literally walk into traffic. What’s even worse is that the popularity of the game encourages developers to make similarly “active” applications, placing pedestrians, bikers, and drivers at even more risk.

There May Be No “Play Again”

If a game causes the distraction that leads to a pedestrian accident, it doesn’t matter if you’re the pedestrian, driver, or bicyclist, or which one of you was playing the game—you can’t undo what was done. You will have to live with the consequences of that game’s distraction.

If you were the victim of a pedestrian accident involving distraction, call the law office of Andrew Kim. He will place the blame squarely where it belongs.