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Boy killed by truck driver playing Pokémon Go

Hit while crossing the street

Pokemon Go Michael McWhertor/Polygon

A 9-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle this week in central Japan, and according to police, the driver didn’t see the child because he was playing Pokémon Go, reports the Japan Times.

The accident occurred at approximately 4:10 p.m. local time on Wednesday, Oct. 26, in the city of Ichinomiya in Aichi Prefecture. The boy, a fourth-grade student named Keita Noritake, was walking home from school when he was hit by a truck while crossing a street. He died two hours later.

The Japan Times reports that the Aichi Prefectural Police Department arrested the truck driver, 36-year-old Nobusuke Kawai, at the scene of the accident. The police said that Kawai confessed he was playing Pokémon Go rather than keeping his eyes on the road. Kawai also reportedly said that he keeps the app open whenever he drives.

The Aichi Prefectural Police posted a notice on its website this past August warning about the dangers of using a smartphone while walking, riding a bicycle or driving a vehicle. Following the tragic accident, the department’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications posted two public service announcements on Twitter.

"The lives lost will not return anymore," the department tweeted on the morning of Oct. 27. This morning, the department added a statement imploring people to stop using smartphones while driving, saying that it is impossible to stare at a screen while remaining aware of your surroundings behind the wheel.

This is far from the first instance of Pokémon Go endangering people’s lives. Shortly after the game’s release this summer, police departments began issuing alerts about the potential for players to become so engrossed in catching ’em all that they ignore their surroundings. At the time, the National Safety Council said that it "urges gamers to consider safety over their scores before a life is lost." The following week, a driver in Baltimore hit a parked police car while playing Pokémon Go behind the wheel.

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