Car Accidents Linked to Video Game Craze

distracted driving by teensKantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., is all too familiar with situations that put people at risk on the road. Distracted driving has been a long-time culprit of avoidable car accidents. Now, in addition to texting, putting on makeup, eating and other distractions, we can add to the list, of all things- a video game.

Pokémon Go

When released early this summer, Pokémon Go quickly became one of the most downloaded apps in history in its first week. Its creators said the game was designed to promote healthy activity among the usually static gaming community. Rather than sitting in one place and working their thumbs, this game required players get out and use a GPS-inspired platform to search for Pokémon characters in the real world.

The game has been in the news since as the game’s popularity rises along with an increase in car accidents.

Car accidents take a noticeable jump after release of game

With many pedestrians and drivers focused on their tech and smartphones, researchers at the UA College of Medicine wanted to see if games like Pokémon Go were contributing to distraction-related accidents. Dr. David Armstrong is a biomedical engineer and public health professor. Dr. Bellal Joseph is an associate professor and UA vice chair of knowledge expansion. The popularity of the game and its ability to stop one from paying attention to their surroundings concerned them. Joseph said, “Distracted driving is a very big issue right now – whether it be texting and driving or gaming and playing. It is almost replacing alcohol as the number one reason for motor vehicle accidents.”

The doctors’ curiosity was justified. They found accidents across the country directly linked to the game. Another independent study was conducted at the San Diego University in California where they saw a “dangerous side effect” due to game play. In fact, the game has been blamed for over 110,000 car crashes resulting in injury and fatalities, many of which took place in the first 10 days of the game’s release.

Liability issues challenged by manufacturer

The game’s creator, Niantic, does include a disclaimer in the game stating they are not liable for any injury or property damage that could result from playing Pokémon Go. Of course, a disclaimer does not necessarily absolve a manufacturer of responsibility regarding any ill effects associated with their product.

If you are victim of distracted driving car accident, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman can help. Call 1-888-752-5018 for a free evaluation of your claim.

Additional Resources:

  1. The Daily Wildcat, UA study analyzes the hidden dangers behind Pokemon Go, http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2016/10/ua-study-analyzes-the-hidden-dangers-behind-pokmon-go
  2. USA Today, What You Shoudl Know About Pokemon Go, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/07/14/pokmon-go-player-crashes-his-car-into-tree/87074762/

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