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People driving while playing Pokemon Go have caused millions in damages: study

28 November 2017

Two economists from Purdue University say in just 148 days of the launch of Pokemon Go, the game caused has millions in damages.

Mara Faccio and John McConnell are working on a paper titled Death by Pokémon Go, in which they will highlight the dark side of the popular AR game.

The Verge reported that the research by Mara and John puts the damage from Pokémon Go at somewhere between $5.2 million to $25.5 million in just one county in Indiana. They worked out the amount of damage from accident reports from the Tippecanoe County after the release of the game in July 2016.

Their research uncovered that an additional 286 accidents and crashes occurred in the 148 days when the statistics were compared for the same time frame in the past. Of the 286 crashes, 134 occurred near pokéstops and on digging further into the statistics and how Pokémon Go works, they realised that the number of crashes were higher near pokéstops than Pokémon Gyms.

Pokéstops refer to points in the game where people are required to walk to, to gain supplies for the game while Gyms require fighting the competing Pokémon Go trainers.

Faccio and McConnell considered around 12,000 accident reports in the county between 1 March, 2015 and 30 November, 2016. (The game launched in the US on 6 July, 2016.)

"A difference-in-differences analysis that controls for a variety of possible confounding factors indicates that the increase in the number of crashes at locations in the proximity of PokéStops that can be attributed to the introduction of Pokémon GO is 134 across the county over the 148 days that followed the introduction of the game," the paper reads.

"This compares to a county-wide increase of 286 crashes during the same period. Thus, the increase in crashes attributable to the introduction of Pokémon GO accounts for 47 percent of the increase in the total number of county-wide crashes."

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