Report: Billions in auto accident damages have been caused by Pokemon GO users playing while driving

Pokemon GO is an AR powered game involving made up pocket monsters with make believe powers and capabilities. Even though Pokemon don't really exist, playing Pokemon GO while driving can create plenty of real-life damages. According to a pair of researchers at Purdue University, nation-wide damage caused by drivers playing Pokemon GO while operating their vehicles amounted to a range of $2 billion to $7.3 billion in the first 148 days after the game was launched. That figures includes two fatalities that occurred while drivers were playing the game.

We should point out that the the actual stats were based on "detailed accident reports" for Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The monetary loss there came to a range of of $5.2 million to $25.5 million. When those figures were extrapolated to include the entire U.S., the dollar amount soared to a figure as high as $7.3 billion.

The report, titled "Death by Pokemon GO," blames the game for a 47% increase in automobile crashes that took place in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Out of an increase of 286 car accidents that took place in the first 148 days following the launch of the game, 134 of them took place near PokeStops. From that data, the writers of the report blame Pokemon GO for the increase in accidents. They also say that the amount of additional vehicular damages in the county caused by the game was $498,567.

The authors of the report admit that the increase in accidents near PokeStops might have been due to increased traffic in the area due to the popularity of the game, and could have nothing to do with those playing the game while driving. However, tests conducted using Pokeman GO Gyms as a "placebo" came to the conclusion that the increase in damages is indeed being caused by an increase in Pokemon GO players using their mobile phones while behind the wheel. Hopefully, the sharp drop in the number of players of the game since the first wave if accidents has also resulted in fewer drivers focusing on the AR action on their smartphone screen as opposed to the real life seen through the car's windshield.

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source: "DeathbyPokemon" via SSRN, PCMag

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