Traffic Accidents Surge “Because of Pokemon Go!”
Pokemon Go is being blamed for an increase in traffic-related accidents and deaths, with research suggesting Pokestops increase traffic accidents by a quarter wherever placed.
Since its inception, an abundance of traffic accidents and even deaths have occurred due to players of Pokemon Go being inattentive towards their surroundings, with a new study from Purdue University entitled “Death by Pokémon Go” providing a variety of statistics implicating the smartphone game in being the bane of road safety.
The study analyzed 12,000 accident reports within Tippecanoe County, Indiana from before the release of the game and after its launch on July 6th 2016, cross-referencing them with the locations of Pokestops in the county (hot-spots where players gather to acquire in-game items) to ascertain whether the Pokestop contributed to an increase in accidents (in comparison to intersections that do not possess a Pokestop).
There was a general increase in traffic accidents overall after the introduction of Pokemon Go, but the increase was 26.5% greater at intersections within 100 meters of a Pokestop; the authors of the study estimate that there were 134 extra accidents near Pokestops in a 148-day period after the game came out in comparison to before Pokemon Go’s existence (totaling about $500,000 in vehicular damage, 31 cases of injury and 2 deaths across the county).
Despite the study’s smoking gun narrative, the authors of the study have stated that the extrapolation of the county results to the entire country is “speculative” – though they speculate that over 145,000 crashes, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths were caused by the game (as opposed to user negligence).
In an attempt to try and reduce the accidents caused by stupid users, Niantic have since stopped users from playing in fast-moving vehicles, even for passengers not actually driving; but considering the game’s user count has apparently dwindled significantly in the past few months, there may be little purpose in people pointing fingers at the latest fad app and not the smartphone-addled drivers themselves.