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Study links Pokémon Go to increase in car accidents

In Texas and across the U.S., the smartphone-based game called Pokémon Go became a craze among players of all ages, so much so that it led to reports of people being injured and killed while playing it. A study made by two professors from Purdue University has further shown that distracted driving was a byproduct of the Pokémon Go phenomenon.

The data used for the study consisted of nearly 12,000 crash reports made in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and spanning the months before the July 2016 launch of Pokémon Go and the months immediately after it. The authors then analyzed the number of crashes in intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop, where players must go to receive in-game items.

They noted that there was a significant increase in the number of crashes there compared to intersections that were a longer distance away. In the five months following the launch, there were 134 accidents, 31 injuries, and two deaths across the Indiana county that authors state were caused by players of Pokémon Go. Nationwide, their estimates came up to around 145,000 more crashes, 29,000 injuries, and 250 deaths near Pokéstops than before the game came out. Further evidence that the game may be to blame for the increase is that the number of crashes tracked with the number of daily active users.

When distractions like smartphone games contribute to car accidents, people in other vehicles might suffer injuries that require extensive and costly medical treatment. In some cases they might be unable to return to work during their recovery period. An attorney could assist in seeking compensation for their losses through a settlement with the distracted driver's insurance company.

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