Pokemon Go and driving are a dangerous mix. According to a recent research paper, the highly addictive mobile game has been behind billions of dollars in damages because players played it while behind the wheel.
A research team at Purdue University found that millions of dollars in the damages tied to the Pokemon Go craze happened in just one county in Indiana. The game was behind a spike in car crashes and car damages, injury, and even deaths in the areas flagged as PokesStops.
In the said Indiana county Pokemon Go is believed to have caused the death of two people. The total damages stand at around $25.5 million in less than a year since the game’s launch. On a national level, the damages cost American people $7.3 billion, researchers estimate.
In their study, the two researchers analyzed thousands of car crashes in the county between the release date of the game and November 30, 2016. The mobile game was rolled out on July 6, 2016.
Researchers compared the vehicular crashes from this time period with the crashes from a period prior. They found that the number of car crashes around the so-called PokeStops jumped by 134 since the game’s launch.
Pokemon Go Behind a Spike in Car Crashes in Indiana
Countrywide, the number of car crashes increased by nearly 300 but just 47 percent were caused by PokemonGo. The game led to $500,000 in car damages, more than 30 injuries, and two deaths over the said time period.
Researchers underlined that regardless of the fatalities, the number of players that access the game while behind the wheel and the costs related to the practice are “significant”.
The game’s developer introduced an update in November 2016 that no longer allows players to access PokeStops while driving the car. But many players bypassed the restriction by telling the system that they were passengers, not drivers.
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