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.


source: "DeathbyPokemon" via SSRN, PCMag

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7 Comments

1. kurosaki9870

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 26, 2017

Here's the problem: accident rates increase year over year regardless of new apps, simply because the population increases year over year, so this could be completely unrelated. Additionally, the whole concept of Pokemon GO is based on data from Ingress, an earlier game that used the location data of hundreds of thousands or millions of people and used an algorithm to place points around the map in areas which are most frequently visited. So gyms and pokestops are going to naturally be in areas with high volume of traffic, and areas with high traffic are going to have more accidents too. I think this is a bit sensationalist, to be honest.

12. Nopers unregistered

Well you're linking things that aren't really linked... there was a 47% increase in auto accidents but theres no way population increased proportional to that. I agree it's a loose link that they have, more crashes next to PokeStops. It's possible that people drive around with their phone on their lap while playing Pokemon go and look down when they're near a PokeStop to spin it meaning there are more distracted drivers in that area which aren't necessarily the ones who crash. Obviously the title is sensationalist because PA make money from clicks, the research is decent.

9. boriqua2000

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 11, 2009

Sue Nintendo. That's todays tread isn't it?

13. Nopers unregistered

This game is nothing to do with Nintendo, in fact the Pokemon company is a subsidiary of Nintendo who just signed on the dotted line for Niantic to use their IP.

10. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

Don't text and Drive includes don't play with your smartphone and drive.

11. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

And don't watch porn and jack off while you drive.

15. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

True true

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