Oklahoma Law Injury Blog

Pokémon GO Accidents from Distracted Driving

Noble McIntyre on July 18, 2016

Danger, Pokémon ahead! To be fair, a Pokemon, itself, isn’t dangerous (or so I’m told), but the new game Pokémon GO, released by Niantic in July, is causing a stir — in part because it has already started to cause Pokémon GO accidents in cars. That’s right… what started as a fun mobile phone app with some nostalgia value to the Pokémon generation has become a dangerous, high-stakes endeavor. The app has been out only a short time, and we’ve already seen news of a car crashing into a tree because the driver was distracted by playing Pokémon GO.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality app that has captivated users across the country who play the game, based on Pokémon characters, on their mobile phones. A player will use the map and camera features on a smartphone to “search” for characters that are located in certain public spaces. Once the user finds a character, the player would then try to “catch” it. There’s a little more to it than that, but the essence is that you use the screen on your phone, which makes it appear that the character is in a “real-life” place. That means that users are walking, biking, and now driving while looking down at their phones in order to find the Pokémon, rather than paying attention to where they’re going. And, make no mistake — we’re not just talking about kids and teens, here. Adults are playing, too; in its first six days after release, the app was downloaded around 7.5 million times.

Driving while playing Pokémon GO

We’ve known for a long time that distracted driving causes the majority of car accidents. And, we’ve also been warning for years about the dangers of texting while driving. But, driving while playing Pokémon GO? Accidents from playing and driving are a whole new hazard. You should never be looking at your phone for any reason while driving. Somehow, though, this game is so addictive that people are losing their common sense in order to catch these critters.

By now, you might have heard stories about Pokémon GO mishaps like pedestrians tripping over sidewalks or bicyclists having minor collisions. While this can definitely cause injury, driving while playing Pokémon GO needs to be nipped in the bud because the potential for disaster is huge.

We’re not telling you to avoid playing Pokémon GO. Gotta’ catch ’em all! But, be careful out there. Especially in highly-populated areas (which is where the Pokémon characters are most likely to be found), you’re likely to encounter people with their heads down, eyes focused on their screens, which means that they are less aware of their surroundings. If you’re playing the game, be sure to look up, and don’t rely on the augmented reality of your phone’s camera to direct where you walk or move. And, if you’re driving, don’t play! There is no game that is worth the potential for a terrible, life-altering (or life-ending) result. If you feel that the game is such a draw that you can’t resist the urge to look, keep your phone out of reach while driving so that you won’t be tempted to sneak a quick peek (or Pikachu, as the case may be).

If you’re the parent of teen drivers, make sure to talk to them about playing Pokémon GO while driving, in addition to texting while driving, and know that they understand the risks before they hit the road. This issue is likely to get worse before it gets better, so stay safe and use your best judgment for safe driving.

Child Safety In and Around the Car

Noble McIntyre on June 21, 2016

When you’re riding in a car with your children, you’re probably careful to be sure that they are properly buckled into child safety seats in order to keep them safe. But, what about keeping your children safe around the car—not just in it? One of the less-known causes of fatalities in children is backover accidents. Continue reading

Recall Roundup: May/June, 2016

Noble McIntyre on June 7, 2016

Recall Roundup: May/June, 2016

It’s never good news when a favorite product has been recalled. Even if you’ve been using it and not had any trouble, it’s always a good idea to find out specifically why it’s been recalled and take whatever measures the manufacturer recommends in order to make it safer for consumer use. Sometimes, that just means calling the manufacturer for a replacement part, or it might mean that the item should be returned and exchanged for a different model. Regardless, it’s hard to keep track of all of the recalls that happen (and you probably aren’t notified of them if it’s not an item that is registered), so we try to keep you aware of the big ones. Continue reading

Bicycle Safety Tips

Noble McIntyre on May 24, 2016

Bicycle Safety Tips

It’s spring (finally), and for a lot of people, that means getting those gears back in action—literally—by hopping back on their bikes. Before you do that, though, it’s always good to have a little refresher of some bike safety precautions you can take to help reduce your risk of being involved in a bike/car accident. Continue reading

Furniture Tip-Over Accidents

Noble McIntyre on May 10, 2016

Have you child-proofed your home? If you are living with young children, you probably have taken plenty of precautions — making sure medications and cleaning products are out of reach, covering electrical outlets, and avoiding choking hazards are all important. But, you might not suspect that your child could be seriously injured or killed because of falling furniture. Continue reading

Volkswagen Emissions Recall Update

Noble McIntyre on April 26, 2016

Last fall, the news broke that there would be a huge Volkswagen recall that had to do with the manufacturer’s having falsified emissions tests. Some Volkswagens had been manufactured to include software that could misrepresent the amount of pollutants that cars were putting into the air. For consumers, this caused a lot of problems, including Volkswagens that would fail inspections or that would lose resale value because of the faulty emissions software.

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Dangers of Driving on Flooded Roads

Noble McIntyre on April 13, 2016

April showers bring… well, you know the saying. But, sometimes, an “April shower” (or any downpour) is more than a shower. Heavy rains, especially in the spring, can cause severe flooding. Driving on flooded roads can be very dangerous. In any harsh weather situation, the best option is to stay off the roads, but that’s not always possible. If you do need to drive when there are flooded roads, keep these cautions in mind:

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Tire Safety: You’re Only as Safe as Your Vehicle

Noble McIntyre on April 5, 2016

Like any responsible vehicle owner, you probably keep track of certain maintenance needs—oil changes, belts and other things crucial to keeping your car working optimally and safely. But, how often do you think about your tires? Until you get a flat, you might think that everything’s just fine, but that’s not necessarily the case. Your tires’ quality and maintenance is one of the keys to safety on the road. It’s not just safety, either. Good tires not only protect against some breakdowns and crashes, but they also give you increased fuel economy and longer tire life.

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What is an underride accident?

Noble McIntyre on March 29, 2016

An underride accident is when a passenger vehicle crashes into the rear or a tractor-trailer, and the result is often fatal. Although tractor-trailers are required to be equipped with underride guards, these often fail, even in low-speed crashes. When a passenger vehicle crashes into the rear of a tractor-trailer, the upper part of the passenger compartment can be crushed because the body of the truck has such an impact on the vehicle safety cage. Continue reading

Easter isn’t always fun and frolic: Watch out for real Easter hazards

Noble McIntyre on March 22, 2016

Spring has sprung, as they say, and that means that Easter is upon us. While kids and adults alike love dyeing eggs, participating in egg hunts, Easter baskets filled with goodies and the obligatory chocolate bunny or Peeps, there are some things you should know about some seemingly harmless Easter traditions.

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