A city in Japan will demand the U.S. operator of the popular smartphone application Pokemon Go disable the game while a player is driving after the recent death of a 9-year-old pedestrian.
The Ichinomiya city government in Aichi Prefecture will send a letter to Niantic Inc and concerned parties as early as this week, the officials said, adding, the city will urge the company to fully disable the game when the player is traveling at high speeds.
Currently, the operator restricts game play while users are travelling at certain speeds by using a motion sensor. But smartphone users are able to circumvent the restriction and continue playing even when driving.
Keita Noritake was fatally struck in Ichinomiya on Oct 26 while walking on a pedestrian crosswalk on his way home from school. The 36-year-old driver, Nobusuke Kawai, later admitted to police that he was playing the game before hitting the boy.
There have so far been three fatal car accidents, including the Noritake case, caused by drivers playing the augmented-reality game in Japan since it was released July 22, according to the National Police Agency.
A 72-year-old woman was killed after being hit by a van driven by a 39-year-old on a road in Tokushima City in western Japan on Aug 23. The driver was sentenced to 14 months in prison on Oct 31.
The second victim, a Vietnamese woman in her 20s, residing in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, died Aug 25 after being hit by a car while she was crossing a road on a bicycle on Aug 11. The driver told police he was distracted at the time of the accident as he was trying to charge his mobile phone because the battery had almost drained due to playing the game.