Unless you live in a part of the world away from all civilization, or have no direct contact to an electrical device, you have probably heard of Niantic and Nintendo’s latest mobile application, Pokémon GO. The incredibly popular smartphone game that combines real world settings with pursuit of animated characters from the Pokémon series is leading to major distractions of all kinds and among people of all ages. One of the first reported car accidents to result from Pokémon GO occurred on June 12, 2016 in Auburn, New York. The 28 year-old driver admitted to using his smartphone to play the game while driving at night on a tree-lined street. Although the driver survived, he sustained injuries to his legs and suffered from disorientation as a result of the one-car crash into a large tree. The damage to his vehicle was substantial enough to indicate speed that could have proven fatal, had he instead collided with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver in a car accident, an auto accident and personal injury attorney can help you navigate development of a legal claim toward compensation for your injuries. Auto accidents can cause major medical expenses and other ramifications throughout your life, greatly impacting your lifestyle for years to come. By getting the help you need from a personal injury lawyer, you can better overcome some of these challenges and maintain quality of life.
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As a result of this video game’s popularity, police departments coast-to-coast are reminding drivers to stop distracted driving by putting their smartphone and other devices down while behind the wheel. Sadly, auto accidents are not the only hazards resulting from this pastime that is only growing in popularity. People tend to pay attention to their smartphone screen while walking on unfamiliar ground, wandering at night or while driving. Types of personal injury accidents already resulting from Pokémon GO include:
Another hazard of Pokémon GO is that individual people can create scenes that draw other players into actual physical locations. When these locations are visited, police are warning that players should ensure they do so in groups and only at places they are familiar with, to avoid personal injury or even assault. Missouri police arrested four people believed to be stalking and robbing players of the game and the Philadelphia police is also investigating robberies involving players.
Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic in America according to this 99 page report from Oregon Department of Transportation. Part of the problem is that today’s smartphone and tablet devices can be easily used to perform a multitude of tasks, leading many drivers to believe they can multi-task behind the wheel. When accidents occur due to distracted driving, few are honest that they were driving while using their smartphone or other device. So the reported statistics of distracted driving are believed to be only a very small portion of the real problem.
In Arizona during 2015, only 25 drivers admitted to using their electronic device while behind the wheel, although anyone who drives on Arizona roads today can attest to how grossly underreported this activity is, according to that statistic. Perhaps one indicator of where smartphone-related distracted driving accidents are reported is through the 14,966 drivers who could not provide insight in regard to how their accident occurred or what the cause was, while on the scene with police.
Of the 116,609 motor vehicle accidents occurring in Arizona in 2015, 7,743 of the wrecks were confirmed to be caused by driver distraction using a smartphone or otherwise distracted by other elements inside or outside of the vehicle, according to the 2015 Arizona Crash Facts Summary of the Arizona Department of Transportation. 1,659 drivers were ticketed for causing an accident because of distracted driving, as reported by police and included within the Crash Facts report. Other major causes of distracted driving collisions include eating while driving and interacting with passengers. 33 fatal accidents were caused by distracted driving in the same year.
Sadly, all of these distracted driving statistics are expected to rise across Arizona and the rest of the U.S. as smartphones become more engaging and applications like Pokémon GO grow in popularity. Pokémon GO is the first phone-based game that integrates real world locations and scenarios, but many more are sure to follow on its heels very soon, due to the quick social and financial impact of this game.
Whenever drivers engage in distracting activities while behind the wheel, they create great risk for a deadly accident. They also put the lives of others sharing the roads with them at risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that distracted driving results in at least eight fatalities each day in the United States. Almost 1,200 more are injured in these accidents each day. As Pokémon GO continues to be used by drivers in pursuit of their game points, these numbers will undoubtedly increase.
As indication of where things are headed for distracted driving fatalities and injuries on our roadways, a Forbes article revealed that 7.5 million Americans – one in every 40 people – started playing Pokémon GO within the first six days following its launch. That use is averaging 43 minutes per day per player, more than many of the most popular social media apps used by people in the U.S., including Instagram, SnapChat and WhatsApp. Because Pokémon GO is meant to be played while on the go, as its name implies, this craze spells danger for drivers and passengers, alike.
If you are injured in a distracted driving auto accident, or if someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury or has been killed in an accident, you need an experienced auto accident lawyer. Call the Phoenix law office of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at 602.254.2701 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. You may be able to gain compensation for your medical expenses and other accident-related costs.
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