Pokemon Go has been out for nearly a year and a half at this point, and while the initial popularity has faded, there are still many people that enjoy the mobile game. If you don’t how the game functions, here is a quick primer: it is an augmented reality game, meaning that people use the app to find places in the real world where they can collect items and monsters that are used in the app.
What this means, though, is that the app has to make certain waypoints for people to walk to in order to play the game. And you can probably tell where this is going.
With so many people walking around looking down at their phones in an effort to find these waypoints (or “PokeStops” as they are called in the game), there have been a lot of accidents that have occurred as a result of distracted pedestrians and distracted drivers.
One study, which looked at a particular county in Indiana, found that Pokemon Go was responsible for alarming amount of accidents. According to the researchers, there were 134 accidents in the 148 days that followed the game’s release in the county that could be tied to Pokemon Go. They extrapolated the data for a national scale, and though it is extremely speculative, they say that the app could be responsible for some 29,000 injuries, 145,000 accidents, and 256 deaths.
It raises an interesting point in the distracted driving debate. Sometimes it is the pedestrian that is distracted. But regardless of who is absent-minded in an accident, the negligence shown is still a problem.
Source: Rolling Stone, “Study: ‘Pokémon Go’ Led to Increase in Traffic Accidents,” Stefanie Fogel, Dec. 19, 2017