Pokémon Go Accidents on the Rise as Baltimore Driver Crashes into Police Car

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By Jacob Maslow

Pokémon Go is by far the biggest trend of the year. Gamers remember Pokémon as a formative part of their childhood, and people of all ages are now playing the augmented reality game on their cell phones.

The game’s popularity has led to accidents rising, and many gamers are becoming injured in the process.

Using GPS navigation, players are able to find and capture Pokémon in their world. Texting and driving is dangerous enough, but immersing yourself in a video game while behind the wheel brings the liabilities and risks even higher.

A Toyota Rav 4 crashed into a parked police car in Baltimore, Maryland on July 18, 2016. The event was captured on the body cameras of the policemen that were standing next to the vehicle at the time of the accident. The driver continued to the end of the street before exiting the vehicle.

The driver proclaimed, “This is what I get for playing that dumb game.”

Baltimore police had multiple incidents relating to Pokémon in the same week. Multiple accounts of people being robbed while playing have been reported in the city. Two incidents of phones being stolen while people stroll the city at night had been reported at the time of the accident.

Players have their face buried in their phone while criminals find an easy target to rob. It’s only  a matter of time before liability claims arise from these accidents, personal injury lawyers say.

Pokémon Go was released this past Friday in Japan. Numerous accidents in Japan have also been reported following the app’s release. A woman was assaulted by a 27-year-old man that was unnamed. The man was arrested in Tokyo after grabbing a woman’s arm believing she was taking photos of him.

The man demanded that the woman delete the image of him. The woman was trying to capture a rare character at the time.

A 21-year-old man in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture ran into a line of cars at a red light because he was immersed in Pokémon. “I was focused on the game and did not notice the car in front of me,” the man told police.

Another incident occurred at an elementary school on Sunday morning in Japan when a player crashed into another cyclist. The student sustained minor injuries in the process.

One player in Auburn ran into a tree while behind the wheel. Police were called to the scene to find a vehicle that had gone off road at 10:45 pm only to find the driver had struck a tree. The driver was playing Pokémon Go at the time. The driver was not named by the Auburn Police, but the report states that he did suffer injuries.

Niantic, the developers of the game, state that “You agree that your use of the App and play of the game is at your own risk.”  The terms of service further state: “please be aware of your surroundings and play safely.”

Autumn Diesroth, a 15-year-old girl from Pennsylvania was hit by a car as she walked on to a major highway while playing. The girl’s mother and Autumn both blame the game for the accident.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos