Interest in Pokémon Go may be waning, but there are millions of people around the world still desperately trying to catch ’em all.
Sadly, some of those players include car owners determined to play the augmented-reality smartphone game while driving along, behavior that recently prompted maker Niantic to update the app with a pop-up message asking players to confirm they’re a passenger if it detects they’re inside a fast-moving vehicle.
But it clearly hasn’t prevented some people from staring at their smartphone screen while driving their car, with Japan on Wednesday announcing the first Pokémon Go-related death in the country since the game’s release there just over four weeks ago.
Sachiko Nakanishi, a 72-year-old resident of Tokushima about 320 miles south-west of Tokyo, was killed when she was struck by a small truck allegedly driven by 39-year-old farmer Keiji Goo. Another woman, aged 60, was also badly injured.
According to the Japan Times, “Goo told police he was playing the blockbuster smartphone game while he was behind the wheel at around 7:35 p.m. Tuesday.”
Earlier this month, Japanese authorities revealed that in the first two weeks since the games release traffic cops had issued more than 700 tickets for traffic offenses linked to the phenomenally successful game in which players travel the real world in the hunt for digital pocket monsters.
Fifteen accidents had reportedly been caused by players distracted by Go while operating a vehicle, and in around 20 cases property damage had been caused by cyclists playing the game while riding along.
While the vast majority of Go fans are of course happily playing the game without endangering the lives of themselves or others, it seems some drivers around the world can’t resist firing up the game when in the driving seat.
An Australian driver in Melbourne, for example, recently crashed his car into a school while playing the game. And before that, a guy in Baltimore admitted he’d been playing it when he drove into a cop car, an act that presumably made it an easy day at the office for the cop whose vehicle was hit.