People Driving and Playing Pokemon Go Caused Billions in Damages
A working study by Purdue University economists titled “Death by Pokemon Go” shows that Pokemon Go, the popular augmented reality game that stormed the nation last year, resulted in injuries, deaths and millions of dollars in damages in just about 148 days. According to a news report in The Verge, Mara Faccio and John McConnell combed through accident reports from Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in the 148 days after the game was released in July 2016.
They found in that county alone, the total value of injuries, damages and lives lost added up to $5.2 million to $25.5 million. If you scale this to cover the entire country, it would suggest that anywhere between $2 billion to $7.3 billion was lost in that short time. Their report showed that in 148 days, 286 additional car accidents occurred in the county compared to the same period in the previous year.
Distracted While Driving
Of these, 134 were near “pokestops” or locations where players could catch the Pokemon Go creatures. Pokestops are locations where you can get more pokeballs and supplies, and gyms are where you battle. You are supposed to walk around to hit all these spots. There were reports of drivers playing that game as they were operating the vehicle.
There were also reports of major injury or fatal crashes as a result of people driving and playing the game at the same time or pedestrians walking and looking at their phones to play the game. Researchers who conducted the study also determined that the number of crashes was much higher near pokestops than gyms suggesting that they were caused by people hopping out of cars while playing the games.
Why It’s Dangerous
Any type of distraction while driving can be extremely dangerous. A distraction while driving could be any activity that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road or attention away from the act of driving. With an interactive, augmented reality game such as Pokemon Go, there is the danger of all three scenarios happening. The company is already facing lawsuits over some of the incidents spurred by the game including car accidents, pedestrian accidents and cases where individuals lured players over to a secluded spot and either robbed or assaulted them.
Distracted driving is already a major issue in today’s world with advancements in personal electronics. The last thing we need is another game that takes drivers’ precious attention away from what’s happening around them.