A driver apparently distracted by Pokémon Go has killed one woman and seriously injured another in Japan, marking the first fatal accident involving the augmented reality app in the country. Local police said that the driver — reportedly a 39-year-old farmer — didn’t notice the two women crossing the street because he was distracted by the game, and struck them both with his small truck. One of the victims, in her early 70s, died at the scene from a broken neck, while the other suffered a broken hip and is now in hospital.
Japan’s National Police Agency says that the accident, which took place in rural Tokushima prefecture on the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, was the 79th Pokémon Go-related accident in the country since Niantic Labs’ game reached its shores in late July. More than 1,000 people have also been handed citations for playing the game in dangerous ways, the Wall Street Journal reports, with Japanese police cracking down on people caught catching Pokémon while driving vehicles or riding bikes.
Despite being the birthplace of Pokémon, Niantic Labs’ Pokémon Go launched in Japan several weeks after it arrived in the US, Australia, and Europe, much to the consternation of Japanese fans. The Japanese government used this time to draw up a set of warnings ahead of the game’s arrival, publishing a one-page pamphlet that advised eager Pokémon trainers not to get heatstroke, to avoid dangerous places, and to take a spare charger on their travels. As in other countries, a number of stations, tourist sites, and religious locations have also banned the app’s usage, while signs have appeared in several major cities warning against the practice of “aruki-smaho” — walking while staring intently at your phone.