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Study: Pokémon Go led to boost in traffic deaths, accidents

Since Pokémon Go‘s launch last summer, there have been copiousness of anecdotal news reports and social media mentions of players being harm or even killed while personification the game. A new study from Purdue University, though, uses minute internal traffic collision reports to advise that Pokémon Go caused a noted boost in vehicular damage, injuries, and even deaths due to people personification the diversion while driving.

In the provocatively patrician “Death by Pokémon Go” (which has been shared online but has nonetheless to be peer-reviewed), Purdue professors Mara Faccio and John J. McConnell complicated scarcely 12,000 collision reports in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in the months before and after Pokémon Go‘s Jul 6, 2016 launch. The authors then cross-referenced those reports with the locations of Pokéstops in the county (where players revisit frequently to obtain required in-game items) to establish either the introduction of a Pokéstop correlated with an boost in collision frequency, relations to intersections that didn’t have them.

Getting at causation

While the occurrence of traffic accidents augmenting opposite the county after Pokémon Go‘s introduction, that boost was a statistically poignant 26.5 percent larger at intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop, compared to those over away. All told, opposite the county, the authors guess 134 additional accidents occurred nearby Pokéstops in the 148-day duration immediately after the diversion came out, compared to the baseline where those Pokéstops didn’t exist. That adds up to scarcely $500,000 in car damage, 31 additional injuries, and two additional deaths opposite the county, formed on extrapolation from the collision reports.

The study uses a retrogression indication to comment for intensity confounding variables like school breaks and severe weather, which could means movement apart from Pokémon Go. The indication also compares Pokéstops to Pokégyms (where it was scarcely unfit to play while driving) to comment for the probability that generally augmenting traffic to Pokémon Go locations was heading to some-more accidents, even among drivers who stopped and parked before playing. In all cases, though, being means to review to intersections but a Pokéstop and to the same dates the year before, helped yield healthy control variables for the study.


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