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There are all sorts of ways to be distracted while driving. Calling, texting, and adjusting the music may be the most common, but a new report pins Pokemon GO as another major cause of vehicle accidents. The study is titled Death by Pokémon Go and was recently published by Purdue University economists Mara Faccio and John McConnell.
Pokémon Go was immensely popular last summer with everyone from kids to adults across the country joining in on the fun. The report shows a much darker side to the game though. It resulted in between $2 billion and $7.3 billion in vehicular damages during its first 148 days.
To collect the data for the study, the researchers analyzed crash reports from Tippecanoe, Indiana during the five months in question. They discovered that in addition to two deaths, between $5.2 million and $25.5 million in additional damages occurred in events related to the game. They then scaled these numbers up to the full US population to get their total answer of over 100,000 accidents.
Pokémon Go is meant to be played by moving around on foot rather than in a car so where did all of these accidents come from? A large amount of the crashes were near pokestops which the researchers then investigated to determine if the game itself was actually at fault.
The researchers used these locations to conclude that many people either drove around slowly while glued to their phones or got in and out of their vehicles many times. The crash amount was also much higher near pokestops than by gyms which supports this claim.