With the launch of Pokémon Go in July 2016, numerous reports came out of players being hurt or killed while playing the game. A look at the traffic reports immediately following the launch show that Pokémon Go led to an increase in distracted driving. This could have been a problem for drivers not only in Kentucky but across the U.S.
Two professors at Purdue University conducted a study analyzing the nearly 12,000 crashes that were reported in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, from the first few months preceding Pokémon Go’s launch to the first few months of the game’s existence. They found that, in those intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop, the number of accidents increased by 26.5 percent. Across the county, this came up to 134 additional accidents, 31 injuries, and two deaths after the game’s launch.
The professors also estimated the total number of accidents across the nation, though they acknowledged that it was speculation: 145,000 additional crashes, 29,000 injuries, and 250 deaths may have occurred in the first five months that people were playing Pokémon Go. Though the game has been losing players, and though its developer has taken steps to keep the game from functioning in fast-moving vehicles, a follow-up game happens to be in the works. This may provide yet another opportunity for drivers to become distracted.
Distractions like smartphone games can often result in a car accident that causes serious harm to occupants of other vehicles. Attorneys representing injured victims could use the police investigation report, eyewitness testimony, and other evidence in order to establish financial responsibility on the part of the at-fault driver.