From the moment Pokémon Go launched last July, there has been very real cause for concern. It’s not just about the fact that there are too many Pidgeots available, either.
While the game did have people out interacting, exercising, and taking notice of unexplored corners in their community, it also had them wandering blindly into traffic, off cliffs, and driving vehicles while playing.
A new study named ‘Death by Pokémon Go’ by Purdue professors Mara Faccio and John J. McConnell studied nearly 12,000 police accident reports from a county in Indiana to show “a disproportionate increase in vehicular crashes and associated vehicular damage, personal injuries, and fatalities in the vicinity of locations, called PokéStops, where users can play the game while driving.”
In other words, people are looking at screens instead of… life, often while careening a few tonnes of metal through public, at great speed. The damage toll estimated is rather extreme.
“We estimate the total incremental county-wide cost of users playing Pokémon GO while driving, including the value of the two incremental human lives lost, to be in the range of $5.2 million to $25.5 million over only the 148 days following the introduction of the game.”
It gets worse.
“Extrapolation of these estimates to nation-wide levels yields a total ranging from $2 to $7.3 billion for the same period.”
That’s 9.6 billion in Australian dollars, in damage, across the United States. In 148 days.
Of course, causation is hard to proof, the paper is yet to be peer reviewed, and although they use natural control variables to show these findings, they also warn of the “speculative” nature in extrapolating one county’s results to all of America.
Still! Time to heed some wise advice.
Look Around, You Will See
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) August 12, 2014