It was revealed on December 8th that a 47-year old crane driver, who is currently on trial in Kyoto for involuntary manslaughter, was playing the smartphone game Pokémon GO when he hit and killed a woman riding a minibike on the afternoon of September 12th.
According to court documents, on December 2nd, during the first public hearing of this case, the prosecution stated as part of its opening statement that the accused crane driver, Hiroki Negami, had been playing the popular smartphone game while at an intersection waiting for a traffic light in the city of Nagaokakyo in Kyoto Prefecture. It is being argued that due to this Negami did not notice the woman on the minibike in front of him. This 39-year old woman, named Mari Himori, was dragged about 130 meters after being hit by Negami.
According to authorities, after his arrest Negami was quoted as saying “I have no memory of the accident.” However, Negami did eventually admit to using his phone while he was driving.
Ever since the tragic incident that occurred on October 26th involving a 9-year old boy getting hit and killed by a truck driver playing Pokémon GO (read more here) more and more people have been calling for harsher penalties on people who use their smartphones while driving. This case will only add further fuel to this alreading burning fire. Just recently the parents of the young boy that was killed in October met with government officials in order to try to get new legislation passed that would more harshly penalize people who use their phones while driving. Whether or not new legislation is actually passed is still unknown at this point but it is looking more and more likely. It is clear that something should be done since it seems that this is a legitimate problem but I am sure that there are many people that are also concerned about overregulation.For now, we will just have to wait and see what happens.