As an augmented reality game, “Pokemon GO” requires people to go around the city to be able to get to PokeStops, Gyms, and especially capture Pokemon. With fans seemingly glued to their mobile devices due to the game, it is quite inevitable to see reports on accidents of people using their phones. One recent study finds a huge increase of accidents in one Indiana county.
The study was conducted by Mara Faccio and John J. McConnel, both Purdue economists. They found that the increase of accidents in Tippecanoe County, Indiana specifically rose up to 26.5 percent after the game’s release more than a year ago.
Surely, you might think that this number is affected by other accidents. However, the study makes it clear in their methodology that the locations of the accidents were near either PokeStops or Gyms.
While PokeStops can still be easily done with just a swipe on the phone, gyms take a concentration. That said, the study then also finds that most of these accidents happen on both the PokeStop and Gyms, with the latter obviously having a higher percentage.
Going into specifics, 148 days into the game’s release, there have been 31 injuries, two deaths, and nearly 500,000 dollars worth of car crashes. This is just in one county in one state.
Considering all the other counties, cities, states, and even other countries, the magnitude of accidents could be a lot greater. They mentioned in their study that in the United States, there were at least 29,000 injuries, 145,000 accidents, and around 250 deaths.
Since the release of “Pokemon GO,” studies appearing about deaths caused by people playing the game have not been uncommon. A quick search on Google will show you a lot of news about crashes, injuries, accidents, and even deaths.
Searching on Twitter with the keywords “Pokemon GO,” “driving,” and/or “accidents” will show you people who have shared their experiences. This method was even used in some previous studies as well.
We cannot exactly blame “Pokemon GO” for all these unwanted accidents. Although catching your favorite Pokemon while on the road is tempting, it is still better than nearly losing your life. You do not literally have to die for that Mewtwo or that recently released Groudon.
On Niantic’s side of the story, as the developers of the game, they made some preventive measures. Rolled out during a previous update several months before is a feature similar to Wazet that asks the user if the person is either a driver or passenger. Although it may not be quite effective since people can just simply lie and click “passenger” even while driving, Niantic rolled out another update.
With the new update also rolled out previously, you can no longer play the game if it detects that you are moving more than 30 mph. Die-hard fans can still probably find a way to play despite this restriction but it at least greatly reduces the risk of getting accidents.
At the end of the day, it really still depends on you and all other “Pokemon GO” trainers to be prudent in playing the game.
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