A report published last year confirmed that Pokemon GO can be a huge distraction for drivers, as the game was involved in hundreds of thousands of traffic accidents in just 10 days. But while this data was shocking on its own, a new study reveals how much Pokemon GO-related car crashes actually cost.
A working paper titled Death by Pokemon GO has been published by Purdue University economists John J. McConnell and Mara Faccio. The two researchers looked at accident reports in Tippecanoe County, Indiana that were filed in the 148 days after the game was released in July 2016. They found that 286 additional car crashes occurred compared to the same period in the year before and that 134 of these accidents were near PokeStops.
McConnell and Faccio estimate that the cost of these Pokemon GO-related accidents - including the two lives that were lost during this time - is between $5.2 million and $25.5 million. These figures are only for one county, but the researchers believe that on a national level, the game could have cost players in the United States between $2 billion and $7.3 billion during this same timeframe.
Reports about Pokemon GO related car crashes are, unfortunately, nothing new. One Pokemon GO player drove into a police car while playing the game, for example, while a man in Japan killed a woman while playing the game at the wheel. But the Purdue University study further highlights the massive price that people have to pay as a result of those who choose to play the game irresponsibly.
Analysts and possibly even government officials may look at this data and wonder what can be done to prevent these costs from growing higher and how to prevent any additional loss of life. The state of California previously considered making it illegal to play the game while driving, and if properly enforced, this could potentially solve some of the problems.
Moreover, in Canada, one Pokemon GO player was recently issued a hefty fine for getting caught playing the game at the wheel. This could also prove to be a useful deterrent against would-be miscreants
The game is still incredibly popular meaning that some players are likely to continue driving and playing and the problem isn't going to just go away overnight. But with the cost of car crashes and traffic accidents being so high, lawmakers will definitely be considering how else they can address the issue.
Pokemon GO is available now on Android and iOS.
Source: Purdue University