Study Links Pokemon GO to At Least 14 Accidents

Pokémon GO was officially released in the United States in early July 2016, and quickly became the most popular mobile game ever nationwide. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, however, the augmented reality game may be playing a role in a number of car crashes and pedestrian accidents.

Pokémon GO players must move around their neighborhood and beyond in order to move their avatar around the gameboard and collect Pokémon. While the designers made the game with walking in mind, players have found that driving and biking let them hunt for these characters faster. In addition, pedestrians looking down at their phones are at an increased risk for a pedestrian versus car accident.

What were the findings from the JAMA Internal Medicine study?

The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine used social media posts and searches of news reports to determine the prevalence of distracted driving due to the Pokémon GO app. This study covered only a ten day period, from July 10-20, 2016.

The analysis of social media posts during this time found that an astounding 33 percent that mentioned the game also indicated the app distracted a driver, passenger or pedestrian. About 18 percent mentioned drivers using the Pokémon GO app while

4 percent of posts mentioned distracted pedestrians. The app should limit play at speeds greater than ten miles per hour by design, but 11 percent of tweets related to the Pokémon GO app claimed to be passengers in moving vehicles.

In addition to the analysis of social media posts, the researchers also took a close look at news coverage during this period. In this review, they found a total of at least 14 crashes directly attributed to Pokémon GO nationwide during this ten-day period.

Could distracted driving really be this wide-spread?

Thanks to effective campaigns against texting and driving, many people only think of texting when talking about distracted driving. However, almost any activity that takes your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel is a distraction. And distractions lead to crashes.

In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that distracted driving played a role in 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 18 percent of all injury crashes nationwide. This total has most likely increased in the three years since, with the introduction of SnapChat, Pokémon GO and other interactive apps. In fact, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), almost 60 percent of car  crashes caused by teen drivers involve a distraction in the seconds before impact.

AAA also found that about one out of every 20 drivers is holding a cell phone — either talking, texting, surfing the Web or playing games like Pokémon GO — at any given time. With the dangers of distracted driving, this widespread use is obviously a major concern for motorists.

How does distracted walking put people at risk?

According to statistics from the National Safety Council, more than 6,100 pedestrians died in car versus pedestrian accidents in the United States. An additional 160,000 suffered serious injuries. Almost one out of every four of these accidents occur when the pedestrian steps out in front of traffic. And the majority of them are under age 15. This means the most at-risk group for pedestrian accident injuries and fatalities is also the target age bracket for mobile games such as Pokémon GO.

Distracted pedestrians suffer injuries in a number of ways, including:

  • Tripping over steps and curbs
  • Falling down stairs
  • Stepping into traffic
  • Tripping and falling into traffic
  • Ignoring crosswalk signals

Over the last 12 years, the number of injuries suffered by distracted pedestrians while they were using a cell phone has more than doubled, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Today, about 60 percent of pedestrians walk distracted, including those that talk on the phone or text while walking.

Call Cordisco & Saile LLC for Help After an Accident

Distracted drivers endanger all motorists on the road, leading to a number of serious accidents each year. If you suffered serious injuries in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey car accident caused by a distracted driver, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to learn more.