Purdue Study Links Popular Game and Car Accidents

As reported by WishTV8, researchers at Purdue University recently discovered a link between car accidents and the popular game “Pokémon Go.”

In Pokémon Go, players must use their mobile devices to locate and “capture” creatures in geographic locations nearby. Soon after its release, stories of players being injured or killed because they were distracted by the game circulated in the media and the maker issued warnings about being distracted by it, but this new study from Purdue is the first to outline a definitive link to car crashes and traffic fatalities.

In this study, researchers examined data from the law enforcement records of Tippecanoe County in the State of Indiana, and they also applied the trends they uncovered through their research to the entire country. Locally, they linked the game to two deaths in the county and several accidents. Nationwide, they estimated that the game caused $7.3 billion in damages due to distracted driving accidents.

According to researcher Mara Faccio, she and her colleague got the idea for this study when a friend mentioned playing the Pokémon Go game while driving into work. The study focused on the relationship between the key locations in the game—known as “Pokémon Gyms” and “Pokestops”—and accident rate trends in those areas.

Pokémon Go was released back in July 2016. Up until November 2016, you could play the game while driving in many areas, although it has since been banned.

The Purdue researchers reviewed detailed police reports from Tippecanoe County to establish accident patterns and trends, which is also how they calculated their estimated damage figure for the nation.

All countywide statistics were documented, according to Faccio, and the researchers decided to apply those trends at the national level for the benefit of the paper’s audience. Readers who may not be familiar with Tippecanoe County and its typical accident costs on an annual basis could have trouble with the numbers if they were kept at county level only.

Unfortunately, games like Pokémon Go are not the only things to blame for the rise in distracted driving accidents. As the world grows increasingly tech-minded, more and more people are using devices on a daily basis and are often distracted by them. Newer vehicles, to some degree, can even encourage distracted driving because they are outfitted with many electronic features and interfaces that compete for attention.

Although many states have laws that restrict and ban cellphone use while driving, newer applications like Pokémon Go will likely continue to emerge and challenge law enforcement. Despite the obvious dangers of driving and playing the popular game, this risky behavior was legal in many places for months before it was addressed. Even with laws in place, some people continued to play the game while behind the wheel despite the danger it posed to themselves and others.

A distracted driver can cause tremendous damage in an accident. If you have been injured because another person was driving while distracted, be sure to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer Denver CO trusts about your case.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Richard J. Banta for their insight into car accident cases.