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Study shows rise in car crashes after launch of Pokémon Go

Many people still remember the reports of people injuring themselves and others while playing the smartphone-based game called Pokémon Go. While the game has lost many of its millions of players since its launch back in July 2016, the danger that the game poses, especially to drivers, is still great. Residents of California should know about a study that two Purdue University professors undertook to show how the game can contribute to the rise in traffic accidents.

The authors analyzed nearly 12,000 accident reports made in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in the months before and after the launch of Pokémon Go. They then cross-referenced this with the location of Pokéstops, which are various places that players must visit as the game progresses. Intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop saw a greater than 25 percent increase in accidents.

Compared to the months preceding the game's launch, when Pokéstops did not exist, there were 134 extra accidents, 31 additional injuries, and two additional deaths in the five months that followed the launch and that served as a focal point for the study. Vehicle damage costs totaled about $500,000. The game's developer has made the game virtually unplayable in fast-moving vehicles. However, as it plans on a follow-up game to Pokémon Go, drivers will still have potential distractions to increase their risk for a crash.

Drivers are required to keep their vehicles under control at all times, so when one causes a car accident because he or she was engrossed in a smartphone game, occupants of other vehicles could be seriously harmed. Injured victims might want to meet with an attorney to see what remedies they might avail themselves of when seeking compensation for their losses.

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