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.
Other information points also advise Pokémon Go as the categorical law-breaker in the shift. For instance, the relations boost in accidents at these locations tracked closely with the reported Daily Active Users for the diversion worldwide, which peaked in July and fell usually by Nov (the last month in the study). The outcome is also measurably reduced as you boost the celebrated stretch from a Pokéstop between 50 and 500 meters. And the traffic reports themselves show a jagged boost in “distracted driver” as the listed means for intersections nearby Pokéstops after the game’s recover (though a singular representation distance and problems with self-reported causes mystify this last information point).
Is this a big problem?
While the authors advise that extrapolating one county’s results to the whole country is “speculative,” the totals here advise some-more than 145,000 additional crashes, 29,000 additional injuries, and 250 additional deaths could have been caused by personification Pokémon Go while pushing in the five-month duration following the game’s release. And that doesn’t even comment for dreaming players getting into accidents over divided from Pokéstops while acid for furious Pokémon or simply looking for different locations.
Developer Niantic hasn’t abandoned Pokémon Go‘s intensity for causing dreaming driving. Starting last August, an refurbish to the diversion warned players in fast-moving vehicles that “You’re going too fast! Pokémon Go should not be played while driving,” and asked them to endorse they were a newcomer before continuing. Then, starting last November, Niantic began making the diversion probably unplayable in a fast-moving vehicle, even for passengers.
That, total with the generally reduced player numbers seen given Pokémon Go‘s release, advise the game’s stream outcome on vehicular carnage may be reduced from that shown in the study. Still, with Niantic’s Harry Potter-themed follow-up to Pokémon Go in the works, and with phone-related dreaming pushing apropos an augmenting problem opposite the country, this is really a problem for mobile AR diversion developers and players to keep an eye on.