Ever since its launch in July 2016, Pokémon Go has given rise to reports of people injuring themselves and others because of the game. It has also provided many drivers in Louisiana and across the U.S. with yet another way to be distracted from the road.
Two professors at Purdue University have released a study on the rise of traffic accidents in the five months immediately following Pokémon Go’s launch. They analyzed nearly 12,000 crash reports made in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, starting from the months preceding the launch. They then tallied the number of crashes in those intersections that are near locations that were designated as Pokéstops, where gamers must go for special in-game items. They discovered that 26.5 percent more accidents occurred at these intersections than those further away after the game came out.
In the first five months of the game’s existence, there were 134 accidents, 31 injuries, and two deaths across that Indiana county attributable to drivers who were distracted by the game. Total vehicle damage totaled over $500,000. Based on these statistics, the authors speculated that nationwide, there were 145,000 crashes, 29,000 injuries, and 250 deaths in the same time period due to the negligent actions of Pokémon Go players. It should be remembered that this data does not even include the accidents that occurred far away from Pokéstops.
Though the game’s popularity has waned, it and other smartphone-based games can tempt drivers to play while behind the wheel. When this leads to a car accident, occupants of other vehicles who have been injured might want to meet with an attorney to see if the driver’s distraction amounted to the type of negligence that can support a personal injury lawsuit.