“Death by Pokémon GO”: A US-American study finds out that extrapolated over 140,000 car accidents with over 250 deaths could be caused by the popular mobile game.
The globally acclaimed mobile game Pokémon GO has been on the market since July 2016. Employees of Purdue University in Indiana have now taken a closer look at the title and the effects of its popularity: In a new study, Mara Faccio and John J. McConnell examined the connection between Pokémon GO and the increase in traffic accidents in Tippecanoe County, Indiana – with alarming results.
Poké Stops as accident sites
Within the first 148 days of the mobile game’s release, researchers found an increase of 134 traffic accidents in Tippecanoe County alone. A strikingly large number of these occurred in the vicinity of Poké Stops – often near public thoroughfares where drivers could play while driving. In the accidents, 31 people were injured and two incidents ended fatally.
Playing Pokémon GO while driving is legal in Indiana, unlike all other US states. If the values from Tippecanoe County were nevertheless transferred to the entire USA, Pokémon GO would be responsible for over 145,000 traffic accidents with almost 30,000 injured and 256 dead, according to the study. The financial damage caused would be between two and 7.3 billion dollars – in the first five months after the game’s release, mind you.
Ban on playing while driving
Pokémon GO’s developer studio, Niantic, has preemptively introduced a pop-up window that warns players that they are busy playing the game while driving. To do this, the game uses the player’s location information and reacts if it changes too quickly.
The appeal of the game itself is thus more than clear: no distractions while driving!