Reports of motor vehicle accidents due to Pokémon GO-induced distraction are beginning to appear in the medical literature.
This was bound to happen.
In the last couple of weeks, reports of three motor vehicle accidents tied to Pokémon GO have appeared in the medical literature. Given that Apple says Pokémon GO was downloaded more times in its first week than any other app, you have to wonder how many more game-related motor vehicle accidents have not appeared in the medical literature.
After all, the authors of a research letter last month in JAMA Internal Medicine wrote that, via Google, they had found news stories about 14 different crashes caused by Pokémon GO in just 10 days in July. The authors pointed out that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16-to-24-year-olds, whom Pokémon GO targets. The letter’s authors cite a recent American Automobile Association report noting that six out of 10 crashes among teen drivers involve distractions within six seconds of the accident.
More recently, a pair of University of Arizona surgeons, writing in Oxford Medical Case Reports, described two accidents whose victims showed up at their hospital’s emergency department in Tucson:
The first case involved four people–the 19-year-old driver of a pickup truck and the three people who were riding on on the bed of the pickup, which, surprisingly, appears to be perfectly legal in a bunch of states, including Arizona.
The pickup driver told emergency department staff that he was “hunting Pokémon” while driving and got distracted when he found one “sitting across the road,” directly in his path. He said he tried to “flick his Pokémon ball to capture the Pokémon” and lost control of his truck, rolling it and ejecting the three passengers riding on its bed. They had to roll the truck off of him. CT scans showed that the driver, who was alert when he got to the hospital, had a small area of bleeding in his brain and a tear in his liver. One of his passengers had a couple of cuts in his scalp, while the other two, amazingly, were not injured.