Last weekend, 14-year-old Ryan Mannes was playing Pokemon with friends when he allegedly walked out onto 11 Mile Road to capture one of the game’s creatures. Investigators say he was on his way back to the sidewalk when a motorcycle driven by Cody Leonard Soucie hit him. Ryan Mannes was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
On Monday, 24-year-old Soucie was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was .14 at the time of the accident on 11 Mile near Gratiot. Both Soucie and a female passenger were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Death of Teenager Highlights Nexus of Roadway Dangers
The tragic death of Ryan Mannes is still under investigation, but this accident involved two major risk factors for accidents: hand-held technology and driving under the influence of alcohol. In this case, the initial indicators seem to point to alcohol as the precipitating cause of the accident. Unfortunately, this is not surprising. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported decreasing rates of fatal motorcycle crashes; however, the percentage of those deadly accidents involving an intoxicated motorcyclist in actually increasing. In 2014, nearly a third of motorcyclists involved in fatal motorcycle crashes had a BAC above .08, the legal limit. This is a much higher percentage of alcohol involvement than with pedestrian accidents overall, in which the driver is found to be intoxicated about 15% of the time.
Though a pedestrian fatality is much less likely to involve a motorcycle than other kinds of motor vehicles, the risk to child pedestrians aged 0-14 is actually nearly 4 times that of cars. Children comprise about 21% of pedestrian fatalities in the United States each year.
Is Pokemon GO Riskier Than Other Technology?
The honest truth is it probably isn’t. It’s the hot technology of the moment, so we’re hearing a lot about each accident that occurs. Since we know technology and media are significantly implicated in accident data, it isn’t surprising we would see evidence of accidents involving the single most popular game of the year.
There have been criticisms of the game, however. Some say the placement of Pokemon prizes in dangerous locations has contributed to car crashes and players being robbed or assaulted. It can create unpredictable pedestrian movement on roadways. One of the key recommendations for pedestrian safety is to ensure you are crossing roads where expected, but Pokemon GO certainly encourages unusual movement or large group movement where pedestrians may not otherwise be expected.
The death of Roseville High School student Ryan Mannes was a completely unnecessary tragedy. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a responsible decision and too often has high costs for innocent people. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident or a crash where one driver was under the influence of alcohol, the attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you win the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-LEE-FREE for a no-cost, risk-free consultation.