On Wednesday July 6th 2016, the much anticipated release of Pokémon Go finally came. The game allows players to “capture” Pokémon in real world situations. The game has taken the New York City area by storm. With already over 15 million downloads nationwide, the new app is overflowing with success. However this early success has resulted in some unexpected consequences. Although the loading screen of the game reads “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surrounding,” players across the country seem to be ignoring this warning leading to personal injuries in many different situations.
Injuries have been reported regarding simple trips and falls resulting in small scrapes or bruises, to two men falling 50-90 feet off a cliff where the extent of the injuries have yet to be released. As we still wait for the details of the accident to become public, we do know that these two men, stood as close to the edge of a cliff in Encinitas, California, where they were able to find what is to be believed “rare Pokemon” before they fell.
Pokemon Go has also been the cause of a number of car accidents across the country. Police recently responded to an accident where the driver was playing Pokémon Go at the wheel. His car, which as a result of the accident was completely totaled, struck a tree and the driver suffered some minor injuries. “Luckily the driver was not seriously injured but this is an example of how easily accidents can occur when someone is engaged in the game and not paying attention,” the Police Chief said. The driver was negligent in the occurrence of the accident because he was playing the game while driving.
Similarly, a 15 year old girl was recently struck by a vehicle as she was walking across the highway in order to fulfil a goal within the game. In that instance, the girl tried to blame the game for her own careless conduct. “To where it is set up, we have to cross roads to go get it,” she told reporters. “I do blame it.” She states she was forced to cross a four-lane road to catch Pokémon on Tuesday. “Kids don’t just cross the highway for no reason,” her mother shared with reporters. “She was not walking and playing the game. She was coming home to tell her mother she found Pokémon,” said the mother. “I’m blaming the game itself because it’s dragging kids across highways; major highways. Kids don’t need to be going across highways.” The girl was placed in a neck brace and was hospitalized for just over 24 hours as a result of the incident.
Even the American Red Cross seems to realize the apparent risk by playing Pokémon Go as they have released “5 Red Cross Tips for Staying Safe While Playing Pokémon Go.” The fifth tip says it all as it reads, “Download First Aid and Emergency Apps.”