Driving while using your smartphone is never a good idea, but getting behind the wheel while playing Pokémon Go seems to have even more severe results, at least as far as one county in Indiana, is concerned.
A new paper appropriately titled ‘Death by Pokémon Go’ aims to reveal that darker side of the popular augmented reality mobile game.
Mara Faccio and John McConnell, Economists from Purdue University, searched through accident reports in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, examining the number of incidents that occurred in the first 148 days following the game’s release back in July 2016.
In just one, single county, the total value of injuries, damage and the loss of two lives, amounted to a cost between $5.2 million CAD and $25.5 million, according to the academic study.
While not exact, scaling this over the entire United States reveals that Pokémon Go could have potentially costs between $2 billion and $7.3 billion in damages in just a few months.
Specifically the research reports that during 148 days, 286 crashes occurred in the county, with 134 of them occurring near Pokéstops. In the wold of Pokémon Go, Pokéstops are locations where you’re able to pick up additional supplies and Pokéballs.
While you’re supposed to walk around to hit these locations in the game, driving around to each location is more efficient and also obviously less tiring (though it does defeat the purpose of the game). To combat this issue, Niantic, the developers behind Pokémon Go, made it more difficult to play the game while moving at a high speed through a notification reminder.
All in, the main fact that can be gathered from this study is that the economists realized the number of crashes recorded was higher near Pokéstops when compared to Gyms, which could indicate that these accidents were caused by people jumping out of their car to quickly play the game.
Source: Death by Pokémon Go