11 January 2018
Pokémon Go game which was released a year ago by Nintendo became a sensation overnight, with billions of people downloading the game. However, the game which asked people to hunt for Pokémon’s was also responsible for an increase in the number of automobile accidents caused by distracted players.
According to a report published by researchers at Purdue University, Pokémon Go players were responsible for nation-wide damages of billions of dollars. A number of people who were driving while playing Pokémon GO caused damages worth $2 billion to $7.3 billion in the first 148 days after the launch of the game.
The report, titled "Death by Pokémon GO," says that Pokémon Go was responsible for a 47% increase in automobile crashes that took place in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. It said that out of an increase of 286 car accidents that took place in the first 148 days of the game's launch, 134 of them were near PokeStops. The report also states that the total amount of additional vehicular damages were $498,567 due to the game.
The researchers state that one of the reasons for an increase in accidents near Pokestops could be an increase in traffic in the area, due to the immense popularity of the game. Driving while playing the game may not be the prime reason, however, they still attribute that a number of accidents were caused due to distracted Pokémon Go players.
"We document a disproportionate increase in vehicular crashes and associated vehicular damage, personal injuries, and fatalities in the vicinity of locations called PokéStops, where users can play the game while driving. The results are robust to using points of play, called Gyms that cannot be used to play the game while driving as a placebo."-Death by Pokémon