Authorities in the United States haven’t taken any action yet, but if the rate of injuries tied to the immensely popular application Pokemon Go! continue, you just might find yourself in a traffic net where police officers aren’t checking to see if you’ve been drinking they’re looking to see if you are ‒ playing Pokemon Go! According to news reports, Japanese police recently issued hundreds of tickets to motorists who were playing the game while driving. Law enforcement officers in Thailand also set up a similar roadblock, arresting 12 drivers.
The major cause of their concern? The rising incidence of injuries involving motorists playing the game while driving. In Massachusetts, police say a motorist on the highway caused a multicar accident when he was distracted in his hunt for Pikachus, Bulbasaurs and other creatures. A man in Baltimore sideswiped a police cruiser while playing the game behind the wheel. Niantic, the developer of the application, has issued an upgrade that requires anyone playing the game in a moving vehicle to tap a button that says “I’m a passenger.” They acknowledge, though, that there’s no way to verify if the person tapping the icon is really a passenger or is operating the vehicle.
The risk of personal injury, though, is not limited to motor vehicle accidents. Just moments after the game’s release in June 2016, a man in Washington, D.C., broke his foot when he fell into a ditch. He admitted that he had his focus on his device, not on the terrain in front of him. In Florida, a resident mistook two teenagers for burglars and fired shots at their car. They were simply playing Pokemon Go!
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