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How Pokémon Go raised auto accident numbers

Pokémon Go may have waned in popularity, but it still claims the attention of millions of players across California and the rest of the U.S. This means that the risk for personal injuries and even deaths among players is still high, as the game can prove addictive to the point that they forget their surroundings. A study by two professors at Purdue University has shown that distracted driving was one particular consequence of the game's release.

Though the authors studied car accident reports in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, the data could be applied to the nation at large. In the months following the July 2016 launch of Pokémon Go, there was a 26.5 percent increase in car crashes in those intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop. Pokéstops are locations where players must go to obtain in-game items. Across the county, 134 more accidents, 31 more injuries, and two more deaths occurred in those months because of Pokémon Go players, with most of the traffic reports listing "distracted driver" as the cause of the accident.

The authors speculate that across the nation, the game may have caused 145,000 crashes, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths in the first five months of its release. Though the developer, Niantic, has updated the game so that it's virtually unplayable in fast-moving vehicles, it is currently developing a follow-up game.

Smartphones are a major source of distraction whether one is playing a game like Pokémon Go on it or simply texting. When drivers engage in such activities and cause a car accident, they will be held liable for their negligence. Victims can always consult with a lawyer about filing an injury claim. He or she will assess the claim and estimate a settlement. Investigators may be brought in to build up the case before the lawyer goes ahead with negotiations.

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