In its early stages, Pokémon Go had no restrictions to keep people from playing it when they were driving. This frequently made the game a distraction for drivers in Illinois and across the U.S., especially when they needed to visit Pokéstops to obtain in-game items. A recent study, shared online but still awaiting peer review, conducted by two professors at Purdue University shows just how much of an effect the game has had on car crash rates.
The authors studied the car crash reports made in the months preceding and following the July 2016 launch of Pokémon Go, concentrating on Tippecanoe County, Indiana. They then counted the number of accidents that took place at intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop. Across the county, 134 more accidents and two more deaths occurred at such intersections in those months following the launch than in the months preceding it. There was a 26.5 percent increase in accidents near Pokéstops with the majority of them attributed to a distracted driver.
Using the data from the study, it can be estimated that nationwide, there were 145,000 additional crashes, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths that were caused by people playing Pokémon Go. The number would be larger if the study accounted for those accidents that took place farther away from a Pokéstop, where players were searching for wild Pokémon or unknown locations.
When distracted driving leads to an accident, although the victim can file an injury claim, he or she will most likely need legal assistance. A lawyer can determine if the victim contributed to the accident, estimate a reasonable settlement and hire investigators to bring together the proof of negligence and the necessary paperwork, like police reports and medical documents. That’s when negotiations can begin with the other driver’s insurance company. If the company is unwilling to pay, an attorney can advise his or her client about litigating.